It appears the strategy of Arsenal leadership is to go full-steam ahead. They are backing Mikel. They are backing Edu. We are moving forward with the ‘vision.’ It’s bold or totally nuts.
Part of this approach is to take back a bit of control.
The players failed Wenger. They failed Emery. They are tanking Arteta in a big way right now.
I make the club right in that sense. Don’t enable a culture where the players feel they have the power to change the course of the season, especially if they are bum talents. At core, this mess is a player-generated one. Simply put, we have too many at the club that don’t give a fuck.
Where the story comes right back to Arteta is that he’s been a chief enabler of this since he’s arrived.
When he was in his 30s, he was tapping up people to help him earn his coaching badges. His head wasn’t on the project. He was just trying to get to the end of his deal for the next move. How did he not check his own experience of being an old player when he invested his young coaching career in old players?
New deals for Auba and David Luiz. Rumoured new deal on the table for Barca bound Mustafi. We canceled the Granit Xhaka move to Hertha Berlin. Any player that told the new management crew they believed in Mikel found themselves with another chance at the club.
The senior players have turned on the manager now. It’s clear.
If they think he’ll be pushed out, they might be in for a bit of a shock.
What baffles me is why Arteta keeps on picking them?
Mustafi is off. Don’t pick him.
Kola is shit. Stop picking him.
Xhaka won’t apologise, that’s a non-negotiable. He needs to be shipped to Italy. Stop picking him.
If the players that aren’t in the squad are causing problems, tell them they can train elsewhere for the last 5 months of their deal. Work them from home. Blame it on covid.
The biggest thing… if Arsenal are going to be indulging student Mikel like we’re a training school, someone has to put the breaks on his shocking decisions.
Here is a really fucking scary reality: If Bernd Leno pinged an achilles heel tomorrow, we could be relegated.
Runarson is the worst keeper I’ve ever seen in an Arsenal shirt.
The decision to play him against Manchester City was beyond the pale. I was told week one that he was a shower of shite. Mikel has watched a player that can’t position a wall do that in training for 5 months now. He is the last line of fire and it is scary.
That decision is on Mikel and Edu. We spent a million euros on him. There’s simply no way the scouts picked him. There were way better options available on loan and for free. We picked a new member of staff’s mate… we allowed contacts scouting to happen again. Unbelievable that Vinai, Edu, and Mikel sat around a table and saw 17th place Dijon’s second-string keeper with the worst shot-stopping record in the league and rolled the dice on him. Does no one at Arsenal ask questions of their colleagues? Why are we taking the advice of a Championship keeping coach when it comes to scouting? What data did he have that supported him being the best we could do? That is not a process. It’s amateur hour.
Where is the accountability? Who is pulling Mikel and Edu to one side to explain how someone that bad found their way onto the pitch for a quarter-final of a league cup against Manchester City? No doubt they will rectify that in January. What will KSE say?
It’s these sorts of decisions that rock my faith. Mikel cannot stop doing stupid things. He’s in a tailspin, each week he seems to do something worst. I’m really struggling to see how he escapes this moment because I can’t see any thread of a plan.
Worse, is the realisation that Vinai won’t act because I’m pretty sure he doesn’t know how to. He’s been raised in a culture of self-preservation. No one acted on Don Raul when they knew what he was all about because Sven sounded the alarm. We rode it out, blew £100m+ on players not fit to wear the shirt. Sven is now rolling hard with an exciting young team in Germany.
We acted far too late on Unai Emery when it was clear what was going to happen. Now we’re in a nightmare again, Vinai isn’t understanding the moment, nor the opportunity. Edu has a bad record with us. Vinai demoted him. Ralf Rangnick is on the market. Luis Campos is on the market. They will cost money that will pay itself back 10 times over even if they do just an OK job. Both have the experience to nuture Arteta’s talent and control his bad instincts. Both are monster movers in the market.
Owning up to a mistake early and fixing it is not part of the way we operate. Though it’s exactly how big clubs roll… look no further than Leicester. Nigel Pearson promotes them, he’s fired after a bad year in the league. Ranieri wins the league, he’s out the year after. They chop and change until they get it right. I’m not saying move on Arteta right now, but at least address the elephant in the room… Arsenal don’t rate Edu because we saw the actions on the deck chair on the .com. Edu telling the fans he enjoyed being metaphorically cauterized by a coach with 6 months on his C.V. Strike on Ralf, Mitchell or Campos. Ensure good recruitment and a vision returns to Arsenal. Get an A-lister in the most important position at a modern football club.
We might go on a 10 game run, we might claw back to 8th, but I am seriously worried that some of these bad decisions are part of Mikel’s DNA, because he keeps making them.
You can only fix mistakes if you admit you’ve made them. I saw him in a prezzer say he’d make all the same decisions again after his first year. Errr… really?
Still, it is what it is… so we have to talk about what could happen that might make things better.
All attention focuses on the weekend. We play Chelsea.
Arteta pushed all his chips onto coaching the shit out of his team with the extra time he’s had this week.
It’s time for a reaction.
The good news is it sounds like Martinelli is going to be fit. I think the fear was a hairline fracture or something horrible like that. Good news is it sounds like it was just a bad knock. Well, at least according Gabi’s Twitter.
I have no idea what he’s going to do with midfield. Mo Elneny does a job, but he’s not at the level. Dani Ceballos should be sent home to Madrid after his performance against City. Xhaka cannot be an option, his head has gone and he’s shite.
Then you ask yourself about the kids? AMN should start in midfield for me. Give him a chance. He’s an athlete, he’s a brilliant defender, and he’s a big-game player. Why wouldn’t Arteta? Coach him. Tell him to protect our defence with Mo. Keep it simple. Move it forward. Defend like a demon.
I’m crazy, but I think I’d prefer to play Smith Rowe in that midfield three. Lacazette might be technically gifted, but he has no mobility. We need runners and creators. Smith Rowe created a good chance almost immediately against City.
I don’t know what he does with the front three. I assume he’ll go with Martinelli, Eddie, and Pepe. I honestly think I’ve seen enough of Balogun to know the more junior of the strikers might have a style suited better to the equipment we have on offer. He’s faster, he plays more like a Premier League number 9, and there’s more variety to his game.
… but he seems to be on Arteta’s shitlist. So who knows.
What I don’t want to see is Willian out there again stinking out the joint. But… Mikel the manager is a politician now. The principles are gone. He’s about perception. He knows KSE will frown on another dud on a long deal. So he’ll persist. It’s madness, it really is. Can’t we fake an injury for him and pack him back off to Dubai?
Defence is also going to be interesting. I don’t want to see David Luiz out there even though he’s our best defender. Gabriel is looking a liability, Rob Holding is limited, and Cal Chambers/Pablo Mari don’t seem to be near the first team.
At least we have Leno available.
A bit of a ramble today. It’s a huge week. We go again… hoping, praying, that at some point, the tide will turn by persisting with the same ideas.
Over to you, Mikel.
P.S. Have an elite Christmas Eve. Don’t drink and drive. Stay in your damn pods… and listen to MY pod. Smooth wordsmithing…