Well, here we are, the last blog post of 2020. A really, really, really shitty year for everyone.
From a football perspective, we’ve had it all.
We picked up a young coach who arrested the rot that had set in under Unai.
That new coach changed a lot of things. We looked better structured on and off the ball. The players fought like dogs. We binned the melts. Arsenal were far more competitive against big clubs. We won another FA Cup, beating City and Chelsea on the way.
Off the pitch, we had a huge win. The disgusting leadership of Raul S, which a few of us relentlessly pursued, came to a very satisfying conclusion. He was binned after about a month of Tim Lewis joining the board. Good riddance.
That didn’t exactly make our summer, but at least it meant the incompetence could be blamed on actual bad judgment versus something more insidious.
Our transfer window was a bit of a mess because we had to work on compact timelines because of covid. Still, we managed to sign two really great players in Gabriel and Thomas Partey. We also managed to stay true to form by signing Willian on an outrageous deal from a grim super-agent. We did some good business on renewals, tying down Saka and Martinelli. We did some bad business, giving Luiz another deal. We did some ‘errrr… not sure’ work by keeping Auba tied to us until he’s 34.
Arteta the ‘rookie coach lucky to land the job’ at Arsenal was given a big promotion to rockstar manager. Edu was sat down in a fancy garden and told to tell the world he was happy that his relationship with him had gone from subordinate to equal.
Everything went to shit from there.
Arteta had a big hand in every shit decision we made over the summer. His non-negotiables became negotiable. The stars that promised to be with him ditched the project fast and hard. Form plummetted. The football became incoherent. All the discipline went in a storm of redcards. We went coach > manager > politician. It looked like the same end scene from the Emery era.
… but then Christmas brought a special gift: Light at the end of the tunnel.
We beat Chelsea by shifting some things around.
David Luiz and Willian were dropped for ‘sickness’ that wasn’t covid related.
Emile Smith Rowe was introduced with Gabriel and Saka to the front 4.
Lacazette finally found a role that suited his ailing physical traits.
The football sped up as the coaching handbrake loosened.
We moved to mid-table.
Now, the story is far from over. We could easily lose 2-0 to WBA on Jan 2. The blip could be the moment of serenity before a big Arteta induced football heart attack.
… but football is about hope.
January is a big opportunity for the club to right some wrongs.
Dani Ceballos might be moved on by Madrid. They don’t like that he’s not playing. Italy is seen as an option for him to land some game time. Good. He started a fight with Eddie and he was at fault for getting his nose smacked by David Luiz in a training ground ruck. He’s been shit. Cut him loose.
Kola might be finally heading back to Schalke. They hired in Christian Gross and want to kill the fans by subjecting them to the Bosnian knife fighter. Good luck to them.
I suspect Ben Knapper will be busy with other loan moves. Mustafi and Sokratis are both internationals of pedigree that could do a 5-month job at most places. Their wages are high, but not disgustingly so if you are club plugging a gap. Both need game time if they want the next move to be sexy. What will he do with Cal Chambers? Joe Willock? Reiss Nelson? Eddie Nkeitiah? William Saliba? Can any of them be used as bargaining chips for players we need?
No doubt there will be a lot of fumbling around to bring in a creative player. No one seems to like Isco. 95% of fans telling me he’s a fat ponce. A bit mean if I’m honest. The club want a piece of Julian Brandt, but I’d be shocked to see Dortmund move him in January. Jack Grealish has been all up in the Arsenal players gramz over the last week, clearly he is DESPERATE for the big move the North London, but be real people, the £75m we spent on Pepe is not coming back. A player like Jack is not going to end up in our squad, so stop dreaming. There’s talk about Sabitzer of RB. I really like the player, he always impresses me. He hit double figures for goals and assists last season, but my worry is that at 26, he’s a finished product. Shouldn’t we be looking for the next big thing after the learnings of this summer? Buendia has great numbers, but according to Tim Stillman, his attitude stinks, not sure we should be going there if that’s the case.
The good news is that we’re heading into the window a little calmer than we might have been. We’re not going to make a shocking error by panic signing Eriksen on a 5-year deal. I also think Arteta has gone to a very dark place over the decisions he made this summer… he has to know he fucked up very badly. I am sure he’ll not be begging Edu to sign anymore Kia bums, because he knows that at any other club, he’d be on the bonfire right now, looking at the next job at Bournemouth if he were lucky.
On a me, me, me note. The year was rough as a blogger! Traffic nose-dived. I had nothing to write about. BUT, I want to thank the loyalists who checked in regardless. You are the real heroes.
I also want to send my love to all the readers that were impacted by covid. The Arsenal should be escapist, I try and keep it upbeat here (or REALLY FUCKING INTENSE), but I am fully aware of the heartache this virus has caused. I know many of you have lost loved ones or suffered health problems personally. I truly wish you and your families all the best and hope to see you back to full fitness in the new year!
So we end the year on hope.
Hope that Arteta has grown up and can see what he needs to do to make it at the top with this basketcase club.
Hope that the club has finally seen the error of its ways and has the guts to pivot towards a better path.
Hope that we have some exceptional young players that will play out the rest of the season with passion and pride. #HaleEnders
Hope we’ll all be having a pint together at the start of next season as the vaccine is rolled out.
Thank you for reading and listening for another year. This site brings me so much joy. I cannot tell you how lucky I am to have such a rabid community of lunatics that come to chat football every day. It means the world that you spend your valuable time here and occasionally take the time out to call me a c*nt in the comments.
On that note, I’ll raise a glass to you, thanks for being awesome.
Stay safe tonight, be merry, and let’s have a much better 2021! xxx
P.S. I want to say a huge thanks to the heroes that have helped me create elite content this year. Matt, Alex, Aash, Johnny, Dom, Jonathan, Mike McDonald, Janan, Lee… THANK YOU.
Now listen to the podcast.