NORMAL FOOTBALL RETURNS.
Some extraordinary stuff going on in the world of Arsenal yesterday.
Firstly, Don Ornstein, the man that made contacts journalism a thing, was called out by Dani Ceballos as fake news. We spoke about it on the podcast, the feeling is that 2020 has been rough enough and I refuse to accept that David Ornstein is in the wrong here.
The story centres on Dani and Luiz having a bit of a ruck at the training ground.
‘FAKE’ yelled Donald Ceballos.
I suspect it’s probably the details that bother Dani. Being smacked on the nose by an older boy probably isn’t a good look in a dressing room of alphas. It’s quite interesting what a little shit Dani is. Starting a ruck with Eddie and now the banter king of the dressing room? Man needs to get himself into shape.
I will say though… I quite like it. We’ve never really been a John Hartson vs Eyal Berkovic kind of club. I thought Theo Walcott telling the world he liked to go to the cinema, sit in the frontrow, and make his eyes go funny was the exact sort of vibe we had in the changing rooms. Players rucking is standard fare at football clubs, if this is happening, it means there’s an edge on the training ground. I’ll take that. Smacking someone’s nose is weird though… Dave Luiz does have a thing for noses if the Arsenal IG is anything to go by.
In more continental news, Marc Ingla, mate of Don Raul over at Lille… has been ousted by Lille scouting magician Luiz Campos. Apparently, over a deal in which Luis thought Ingla put transfer bonuses over club. I mean, colour me shocked people. Nice to see grifters getting the boot all over the world in 2020.
Talking of The Athletic, they ran a glowing piece about the Kroenke’s and how totally amazing and wonderful they are. The crux of the story is that we were in for Jorginho and Auoar for reals this summer, not as backups… and we’re going to go for the Hungarian chap if things work out this January.
If you get the structure right under the Kroenke’s, you’ll have a good run as a club. They put a lot of money on the table and they’ve not really taken much.
As I wrote at the start of last summer, we really didn’t have much in the way of cash. We still don’t. We haven’t addressed our wage bill, we’ve lost revenue from the stadium, and probably on lots of other things. The fact they’re still pumping the squad is good news. There are still questions over some of the players, but look, you can’t knock the focus on youth and you can’t deny that on paper, all of our signings this summer are top quality.
I also like how these papers keep saying Edu is a good negotiator. Like negotiating a release fee is some sort of FBI Hostage release magic. He gave Willian £250k a week for 3 years at 32. That’s getting your pants pulled down and taking a spanking with a paddle inked with ‘LOLOLOLOL.’
Arteta said in his press conference that good leadership is ‘how you navigate difficult moments.’ He is not wrong. We are in a difficult moment.
We play Leeds away at the weekend and things are looking pretty fucking rough on the injury news front. Thomas Partey is out with a thigh injury, Mo Elneny is out with Covid, and Willian might get punished for treating himself to a steak with Salt Bae.
I don’t know how we’re going to cope with the power and pace thrown at us, but injuries are part of the deal when you manage in a 2020 season. Granit Xhaka would be exposed aggressively in our midfield, but experience-wise, we’d be really lacking without him. AMN just played for England, he has the exact profile you need against a high energy team. Dani Ceballos will, without doubt, be back in the squad. Then you have to wonder what he’ll do with the attacking options. Does he take a risk on Willock without the protection of Mo and Partey?
Big questions. I’m dreading it to be honest. Still, losing 3-0 will be ok as long as Auba plays through the middle, right?
It’s going to be a tough game. Arsenal fans are expecting a wholesale change to the setup, I’m just not sure where I see that coming from at the moment.
On the pod, which I am about to tout, Dom made the point that what Leeds lack in technical ability, they make up for with a pack mentality to the football. They don’t care about pristine formations built around positional trickery. They’ll just blitz you. Arteta tends to approach these games with a purity that often ends with one of those Mike Tyson punches to the mouth. He needs to have something for tomorrow. All teams suffer against Leeds, we need to have a smart way of dealing with a side we know will come windmilling in, keys in hand.
Right, onto the podcast. I had a NEW guest on, fellow Essex boy Johnny Cochrane (@iJohnnyCochrane) who you might recognise from standup comedy or his ‘Hows Your Father Podcast’ (check it out here, lots of elite guests). We also welcomed back Dom (@dommy_daniel), who is studying to take over a football club at the moment.
We talked about the pressure Arteta is under, we discussed ways he could open the game up, and we gave a lot of time to the wonderment that is Bukayo Saka. Tune in, it’s a good one. Also, excuse the lack of music, I don’t have a laptop built in this era to mix properly.