Well, here we go again, friends. Another week of ‘oh please god make it stop’ is heading our way. Manchester City in the EFL followed by Chelsea in the Premier League. Not ideal opponents, but when you are utterly shite, who is it good to play against?
The strategy for the week should probably be focused on giving it our all in the Premier League. Give the cup game to the footballing gods as a sacrificial lamb. Spend time coaching. A big performance and a win against Chelsea sets you up nicely for an ‘easy’ run of games. That is what we need.
Back to the grim story that is the manager’s future.
It’s pretty clear the plan as it stands is to back Mikel Arteta.
If he loses the next 5 games, I’m not sure they’ll be sticking with that idea, but hopefully it won’t get that bad. Not that there are any positives to really point to outside an uptick in xG.
Here’s the reality though. What do you think can be done right now that will give Arsenal the bounce they need?
Firstly, it’s obvious that the entire leadership team is badly off-key. We have three first jobbers trying to resurrect a club that has suffered a decade of failure. We have no footballing expertise on the board. KSE is addicted to bad decisions and staying loyal to the perpetrators. I’ll say it again for those in the back of the room in Delaware… how can you trust anyone that signed off on 32-year-old Willian for 3 years at £250k a week IN A PANDEMIC AFTER GIVING PEOPLE MANDATORY PAYCUTS. That’s a career-ending decision in most lines of work, not at Arsenal.
That last paragraph is there to drive home the reality: You don’t have good people making decisions at Arsenal. Sacking Mikel Arteta right now won’t bring us the joy or solace we need. Why? Because the only managers that are available are the b-listers who can’t get jobs.
Eddie Howe? Get the fuck out of my office.
Roberto Martinez? Red card for the commenter about to type ‘I’ve actually watched a lot of Belgium annnd’
Max Allegri? There’s a reason he hasn’t found a job in over two years. He’s a discipline merchant, supremely arrogant, and he doesn’t have any Premier League experience. He’ll cost a fortune, come with 10 of his staff, and there’s a very slim chance his brand of management will click with this group of players. You can say ‘THAT IS WHAT THEY NEED’… well, look at how the discipline thing is going down with Arteta. Look at how it worked under Emery. I also think the fans would detest his football.
The A-listers aren’t jumping onto this burning fire of a job. Julian Nagelsmann isn’t going to take it. Pochettino is still being paid by Spurs, he won’t take a pay cut to join us, and he’s not going to soil his Spurs legacy to join a club with no infrastructure. Brendan Rodgers ain’t stupid, the job is attractive, but is he going to want to work with this squad with Edu as the guy supporting him? No chance. Even a manager like Hassenhutl (not sure he’s an a-lister), who has always worked with Sporting Directors, might pass on moving midseason if we had the finance to do it.
If you can’t get an A-lister, which is what a club without leadership needs, then all you’ll be left with are managers that will have tools downed on them within 3 months. I am not even sure the idea of a rockstar manager works in 2020… I think all great managers are supported by great teams. The idea that Arteta could do it alone was naive. Now we know that, let’s not think a b-lister is going to turn this around.
Most new managers go through a shitty patch like this in their careers, it’s just usually way out of sight of an elite club. Ralph H had it at Southampton last season, but no one remembers that now he’s fixed it. Jose Mourinho did this at Chelsea in 2015, he lost 9 games, he was fired by December 17th, Rafa took over, then Conte won the league the season after. Top football clubs bin underperforming managers… but we ain’t a top football club.
The power move is a football CEO. You could be PC about it and shift Edu to the side, but it’s clear, he ain’t it by a long shot. Willian on a 3-year deal. Luiz given another year despite dreck performances. Soares on a 4-year deal. Pabo Mari on a perm deal despite keeping Luiz. Announcing signings at his super agents house. At best it’s an extreme conflict of interest, at worst, it’s the decisions of a Techincal Director that has zero creativity or plan to move the club forward. How could he rationalise any of those decisions if you sat down with him at a table? He’d be laughed out of west and north London pubs. You cannot keep faith with that sort of football taste.
We need a ‘been there, done that’ football CEO who can come in and take on the project.
Give whoever it is a remit.
Bonus the fuck out of them.
Tell them they’ll be given 5 years to do things properly with no pressure on them.
If you bring them in at Christmas, let them work with Arteta and Edu until the end of the season. Let them make the decision on their futures. Put the big footballing decisions in the hands of a person that knows the game. That has a track record. That has experience with all the shit we are dealing with.
Vinai should be taking away Mikel’s managerial role right now whatever the path forward is. It has not worked. If he complains, he can always quit. If Edu can’t pick up all of the job, why the fuck are we paying him to be here? Simple fact is Arteta was promoted to pick up the slack of Edu. That is shocking leadership from Vinai. Edu should have gone with Raul.
Arsenal are in a uniquely messy situation right now. Lots of fans will see sacking Arteta as the move to make, I don’t see that as a viable option unless there’s an A-lister lined up. A December hire is not something we should indulge in. I don’t want the top 8 version of Sam Allardyce for the next 3 years. These players need to claw back to midtable so we can make a proper decision in the summer.
I think that’ll be the plan… I’m just not entirely sure Arteta has it in him to move this squad of players into a satisfactory place in the league table. He’s still talking about fine margins. They truly seem to believe a couple of loan moves fix this mess… and hey, maybe an Isco turns it around for us. I’m just not sure I’m buying it. Feels like a movie I’ve seen before. I feel deeply uncomfortable about Arsenal making more short term signings to prop up a manager that has shown us next to nothing this season.
It bears repeating again. Luis Campos and Ralph Rangnick are both free agents. Both have performed incredible feats of leadership in their careers. Both are still at the elite end of the game. Both would do a great job with this Arsenal mess.
We’ll pass though, won’t we?
See you in the comments.
P.S. Podcast coming later + a striker review you’re gonna love from Mike McDonald.