Good morning my darlings. I’ve been to hell this week. Arsenal has been shit. Advertising has been worse (we won that Ad of the Year award though, so thanks). I’m on my 4th accommodation in 2 weeks after dealing with rodents. The only joy has been finding out that lizards are quite social and like to hang out when you work. Weirdos.
It’s time to get back to business though. I can’t have Arsenal being shit forever. Mikel Arteta’s fall from grace needs a swift turnaround. He’s going nowhere and he needs to fix the problems.
Southampton are not exactly shit these days. Ralph Hassenhutl overcame a similarly shocking run last season, now he’s fighting for the league. They’ve been so good even Theo is looking like a player.
Still, at some point, something is going to click. I know everyone is crying that we’re going to get relegated… it’s not going to happen. Here’s how bad the season has been: if we’d beaten Burnley and Southampton tonight, we’d be 3 points off Chelsea.
What does that tell you? If we put a run in, we could climb the table pretty fast. Now, we have good players. Some are downing tools. Some are out of form. If we can work out who is who, then we could find some sparkle.
Auba looks shattered confidence-wise, but we were finding him the other night and he didn’t stop working. It’ll click for him. I simply refuse to believe he’s an Ozil-like issue.
Granit Xhaka can’t be used tonight. He’s been fined and now he can’t play. That means there will be a change in midfield. A lot of fans were critiquing Arteta for not savaging him a week after savaging Arteta for going off a Nic Pepe. I think he learnt his lesson, his post red reaction was virtually the same. Everyone fucks up, let’s move on.
Hector Bellerin, bless him, is finally being dropped because he’s suspended. What will Mikel do? I really hope he plays Cedric Soares and puts Ainsley in midfield. If he doesn’t, we’ll know that the Kia deal for the Southampton player last Jan was probably some sort of final straw for Raul.
I think we should go back to being Shithouse FC. Play 5 at the back until we have the players to roll with a back 4. Our midfield base should be Mo and AMN. Let’s have Auba left, Eddie centre, and Pepe on the right. then maybe Joe Willock or ESR in the creative position.
We need a win. The players he’s forced to pick have to come with the goods. This has to be a stepping stone to a better starting 11.
My fear is we see another round of Willian, Lacazette, and Ceballos.
The reality is we’ll probably fall somewhere in between.
I keep on calling every game a turning point. It never happens. But if you were honest about the last game… we were pretty decent. We played some good football before Granit saw red and we ended the game with an xG win (lolololol I am soooo desperate). I know it means nothing right now, but at least we saw less aimless crosses, some structure in our attack, and a bit of variety.
Arteta was asked if the players are behind him. He laughed and said, ‘my feeling is yes.’ Honestly, I don’t think we are in ‘downed tools’ territory. The results are worse than Emery, but the situation is very different I think. That said, you need to see some wins at some point. Today would be a nice moment.
There was a lot of talk about bad situations and what you learn in the presser. Mikel has never had his squad do to him what they did to Emery. He needs to remember this moment. How it feels. What people said about him. How close he came to getting the boot. Those are the things that need to be written in a diary so when May next year comes round, he’s ruthless. I don’t want to see Mustafi given another chance. I don’t want to see Luiz here next year. If we get an offer for Xhaka in Jan, let’s push him out. Arteta will escape this dip because industry people think he’s the next big thing. The execs will ride out the calls for his head this time… but he won’t get a second chance. This moment needs to be like the first time you licked a plug socket. Let me tell you friends, you only try that once.
Those conversations can happen later, today, is about the win. I liked it when Mikel was asked why we’re so shit.
‘This is football.’
Very true. Our team is more than capable of getting back on track. The talent in the squad is way above where we are in the league. Mikel is a great coach. Let’s see what the counter punch at our shitty form looks like.
P.S. Now listen to The Arsenal Opinion. I bring together Janan and Matt for the first one. It’s a good one. Therapeutic listening.