Arsenal dropped their squad picture for the season. Bit weird that Mesut is in it, but hey ho, what are you gonna do?
BIG trouble for Willian. He’s been busted taking a hot trip to Dubai to meet with Salt Bae. He was caught by… a photo. Which suggests the trip was probably permitted. The story seems to say that he’ll have to take a covid test before he returns to play with the lads… not sure that’s any different to how the rest of the players will have to behave. Kind of feels like this story is a bit of a nonsense. Hardly a Sneeze Rave in Brockley Park, is it? Also, notable that the Brazilian is all over the .com. I suspect the club will welcome a bit of alone time for him, needs to get his nut on the game this weekend.
Our big hope after this lockdown is that Arteta has had some time to think through the abomination before the international break and work on some solutions. He’ll have had plenty of players to work with, so hopefully there’s some new thinking heading into another outrageous run of Premier League games.
I’m hearing mutterings that he very much likes the Swedish kid…
Our first game back is Leeds away. Far from ideal. They play like a pack of hyenas, hunting you down, harassing you… scoring goals for fun. There’s quite a chunk of the fanbase that thinks the best way for Arteta to get over the loss last week is to throw all caution to the wind and try to savage them back. That my friends, is what dim people suggest. We don’t have the players, nor the muscle memory to drops something like that. I suspect the system will stay in place, but the chess pieces will move around.
There are some forced moves that we’ll have to deal with. Mo Elneny is out with Covid. That likely opens to the door for Dani boy next to Thomas Partey. The question is who fills in for the more advanced role? Will Arteta dare put Granit Xhaka in against a side that will see him as a tactical weakness? Is it time for Joe Willock to get a runout? His positional sense and movement could be problematic for Leeds, especially on the break.
What is apparent is the options in midfield aren’t exactly oozing sex appeal. However, it appears the rumblings have started up for January.
The most alarming of them is that Christian Eriksen has been linked with a swap deal for Granit Xhaka. Now, on paper, I quite like the idea of moving on the Swiss for someone creative. However, the deal would put us back on course to repeat the mistakes of signing greats of the past. The Dane has been a machine during his career for assists and vital setpieces. However, at 28, on £250k a week, it’s hard to look at signing him as anything outside Mesut MKII. After watching that Spurs doco, it’s apparent he’s a bit of a beta male. Not sure I like that.
Now, I could tolerate the move if it were a loan for 5 months. I would also want to see movement on Aouar or Sobolazai. My preference would be the Hungarian. He has a low price point and a very high ceiling. You also don’t have the annoyance of an entourage that’ll be pushing for Madrid after 3 assists. Though the Austrian League is less competitive than Ligue 1, I do like that Dominik is and out and out goals and assists machine. The ceiling there is very high.
Any of those players improve us, but two of them are the profile of player we SHOULD be signing. The other is just giving oxygen to a transfer strategy that has not helped us at all.
I’d normally suggest that Arsenal moving for anyone is January unlikely… but, we know there’s probably budget available from the signings we didn’t make in the summer. Well, that’s the hope anyway.
There’s also a higher probability that we clear a few players off the wage bill that have 5 months to go on their deals… though I won’t hold my breath.
Ok, do you feel textually satiated? Good. Now listen to a podcast I did with an Arsenal and a Spurs fan, it’s called United Mates Podcast. They had a quiz at the start they had to scrap because I was so bad at it. I talked some good football though, enjoy.