Arsenal moved to DEFCON 5. The Redzone. We’re in the jaws of a big fuck-off crocodile, we’ve been pulled into the waters of mid-table, and the death-roll has begun. Not many escape it.
The season feels over before it started. Lots of small bad decisions have snowballed into an almighty avalanche of shite and it’s hard to escape our reality: We are not very good.
The turning point for me was making Arteta the rookie coach into the all-powerful manager. He saw a power-vacuum at a club that lacks leadership and he went for it… he should have been told to fuck off. Instead, Arsenal elevated him because they don’t rate Edu. An embarrassing decision.
It’s amusing because when I broke into advertising after 18 months of trying, my boss at the time quit and my dad told me to apply for his job after 3 weeks of experience. I did. I was literally laughed out the room. A really embarrassing moment in my career, but ultimately, who the fuck did I think I was asking that after 3 weeks?
I was told to fuck off because I worked for strong leaders. We don’t have that under Edu. Arteta was promoted too early and allowed to make terrible decisions right away.
The two biggest?
- Trusting players that always let Arsenal down
2. Giving new deals to old players in the hope they had one last job in them
Granit Xhaka was an abomination yesterday. A non-negotiable should be ‘don’t back a rival player over your teammate’, but here we are a week on after the Alioski incident and the slowest plodder in the league had another disaster class in midfield. We should have moved him on this summer.
On this point. Our letdown players seem to have this thing where they’re so comfortable, they feel they can be affronted by competition. Xhaka was good last season, you can’t deny it. Is it any coincidence that he and Ceballos, both dropped for Elneny and Partey, are dropping 2/10s now they’ve been disrespected?
What did AMN do at the training ground that was so bad he can’t contribute to a midfield with the mobility of my 94-year-old grandma three-point turning her trolley in an Aldi shopping aisle?
David Luiz was an incredible player 5 years ago, but we should never have given him a new deal after the season he had last year. That’s on Arteta, he trusted a player that tanked for us on the pitch. He thought £160kish p/w was deserved based on behaviour behind the scenes. Don’t even get me started on how he was allowed to play on like a wounded soldier after a clash of heads that sounded like a car accident.
Auba. Love him. But it is ALWAYS a risk to sign a player based on emotion. He’s 31 years old, we are not a mega club, should we have given him a 3-year deal? An experienced technical director would have said no. Nagelsmann moaned after the Champions League semi-final that he hadn’t been allowed to sign players of that profile. Rightly so. That’s how big swingers act with upstart coaches. Put them in their place.
Back to Auba.
He was nowhere. he looked disinterested. No fight in him at all. It was a pathetic run out that spoke to the bland season he’s been having. He is not a complete striker, which means you need a special type of setup to get the best from him. Namely, wingers that can go past people and find him in the box. We don’t have that.
Willian, an early sub again, after another nothing game. He was never the player we needed. So many people raised the flag on that signing, yet we invested £250k a week on ANOTHER aging player. It looks like a catastrophic signing for a club that is working from the strategy of signing players that look like Champions League level, but are in fact not. Look at the players Wolves sign, generally cheap, always built for the league, better than ours. Can we not compete for these types? £72m for Pepe versus £23m for Jota? Who would you prefer?
Lacazette looks finished at this level. Pepe doesn’t look like he can compete in the Premier League. The kids aren’t good enough and the environment to blood them is absolutely toxic.
Manchester City doesn’t have great strikers, but they have an incredible pipeline of creativity that feeds them.
Spurs don’t have an incredible pipeline, but they have complete forwards in Kane and Son.
We don’t have complete strikers. We don’t have good wingers. We don’t have good midfielders. Slander Arteta all you want, but this squad is built for no manager in the world. It’s a fucking mess.
When all of our players are playing at their peak, we can bumble our way through games. When NONE of our players are putting in a shift, we are fucked. Arteta did really well to get a turn out of them last season, now it seems he can’t.
It’s not all his fault, but it’s hard not to point the finger at him for continuing the bad decisions.
He is a brilliant coach, but a terrible judge of players. I went at people in the summer who said he was conned. I am rethinking that evaluation because it looks like he has been well and truly hoodwinked by a group of players who are built to fail.
The stats after the game made me queezy. We played 36 crosses into the box and only 2 found players. This is peak David Moyes. Is this Steve Round’s contribution to Arsenal? Is that all we have? Arteta is a progressive coach that can’t recognize our striker has no physical presence in a crowded box? How many hip youngsters in the backroom do we need to suss that strategy is a terrible one?
The club won’t sack Arteta. They can’t afford to. Their pride won’t allow it. But he’s now in that territory with a chunk of fans, which is the moment we live in. There are enough bad decisions you can apportion to him for this to be his responsibility. However, we have to be rational. The squad is not built to his specs. There is no manager you’d want that we can afford. It is going to be a massive undertaking to fix this.
The summer is a tipping point for us. The question is, do you have the team in place to deliver the brutality we need? If Edu isn’t the one, are you going to let him lead it and waste more money we don’t have? It certainly cannot be led by Arteta. He’s made too many bad decisions and the extra responsibility has clearly fucked his main focus, which should be coaching.
Here’s an idea. Sign Rangnick. Milan offered him £4.5m a year. That’s peanuts. Give him total power to reshape the club. Heavily bonus him. Set aggressive targets. Demand a premium version of what he offers the RB franchise. Don’t stick it out with people that don’t have a high ceiling. If you have a junior coach, do NOT have a junior technical director. Build a team around his weaknesses, don’t let him choose who he hires, especially if he hires people he likes to have control of the backroom
Address the job roles. We exited a dictatorship only to put ourselves right back into one with someone not ready for it. That is the weakest of all sauces. It’s seasoning your chicken wings with milk. It’s adding sparkling water to your Bud Light because you have meeting at 0830. It’s having an early night at your best mates wedding. We need to get a proper structure in place to fix the club. We need real hierarchy and clearly defined R&Rs. That should start now because we need to save our season. We have boots on the ground, where is the action?
I’m too furious to write about the path forward right now, I’ll bring that tomorrow. But know this, I fully recognize we hit a terrible tipping point yesterday. The slide is on. Arteta looks like a rookie caught in headlights. Maybe worse, he might have been hit by a truck, now he’s limping in the forest and the bears of doom are tracking him. He doesn’t have the infrastructure around him to solve it right now. He needs to call his pals in high places for advice. He needs to get a turn out of his players. He needs to pull off a miracle and get some pride back into the football, if he doesn’t, this is Emery in season two.
He can turn this around though, Ralph Hassenhutl did at Southampton. He lost 10 of his opening 17 last season after 6 months in charge. He conceded 36 goals in the process crowned by a 9-0 defeat to Leicester. This was a coach known for defensive rigour. He turned it around. He summoned the magic, now he looks like a contender to replace OGS. Mikel needs a run like his. Will he find it? Who knows. He needs to shock the system with something electric. Let’s see what he has.
Right, that’s me done. Off to find the bears of doom to see if I can get myself eaten. See you mugs in the comments.
P.S. Double the traffic when we lose? Seems that Arsenal fans like to blog here when we lose whether I’m pro or anti a particular manager. What a bunch of masochists you are.