Welcome to Monday. I’m back at work. So are you. Life is shit and miserable.
Still, at least we can bask in the mini-glow of a decent run of three wins.
Chelsea fans? They are probably not feeling so good right now. Frank Lampard started the season badly and was called a fraud, then he had his team firing and he was lauded as the real deal, now he’s back on fraud watch because Chelsea lost again.
The hammer normally drops at Chelsea. Their owner has no time for sympathy or feelings of nostalgia. Though I will say, nearly every manager has had fans calling for their head this season. Ole G had United sniffing around Poch, now they’re apparently going to win the league. Jose was the king for a bit, then he dipped and Spurs fans were crying about their savagely bad football, now he’s somewhere in the middle. Carlo has had it. Nuno is getting it. It’s hard to make rash decisions when there are 10 points between 1st and 12th.
Arsenal has a very important three games coming up. We play Newcastle in the FA Cup, which is a back door to Europe, so we need to take it seriously again. Then we have two 6 pointers against Newcastle and Crystal Palace in the league. All three games are at home. Really, it’s essential we win all three.
In the league, Wolves and Everton are playing + Spurs and Villa. Adding three points moves us closer or further past a rival in the first weekend.
The weekend after Villa and Everton play. United and Everton. Leicester and Southampton.
Our Premier League games are on the easier side. We simply have to make them count. Palace have been all over the place this season, we know they can damage us, but if we’re on form, we should have enough. Newcastle are a really bland team, but they are capable of parking the bus and nicking draws. The shit teams are more often than not the problem. We need to find a way.
The two key games that’ll shape our season big-time are at the end of the month. If we can head into the Southampton and United games on wave of confidence, and deliver, then we’ll be in the running for top 4 this season. If we sputter into those games, and our top 4 hopes rest on them, I’m not sure we’ll have enough.
Southampton has a ghastly run of fixtures heading into our game facing Liverpool, Leicester, and Leeds. United has an extra game squeezed in and one less day of rest before we play.
People have been comparing Arteta’s December escape from hell to the sort of thing Wenger used to do. Say what you will, but Emery didn’t stop the rot from Jan 2019 until he was sacked.
The true Wenger signature move wasn’t escaping bad runs, it was looking well and truly out of the #Top4Trophy race, then delivering it against the odds.
I don’t want to start hyping people about the idea, because it feels a bit lost in this terrible season, but we do have some things Wenger had going for him.
LIKE A NEW SIGNING
An absolute Wenger classic. After he’d crushed his players before December by overplaying his faves, our best players would come back to fitness around the end of January. Those players had a forced break, they were fresh, and they could drive us when others in the race were leggy.
Arteta has his marquee signing from the summer coming back into the side. We’ve had him for 2.5 games. If he comes back ready, he’ll be immense for a side that needs his qualities. Gabriel Martinelli might not be scoring goals yet, but his impact on the backend of this season could be very much like the one Anelka had but on a less grandiose level. We’ve also discovered a young talent in Smith Rowe. He’s fit, he’s hungry and he doesn’t have the weight of half a season in his legs.
AN ACTUAL SIGNING
Can we really look past Andrey Arshavin as the ultimate #Top4Saviour? The little Russian landed in the Premier League and set it alight until he discovered North London takeaways. He arrived saying ‘I AM GOONER’, we all fell in love with him, and he helped us smash top 4 with 9 assists and 6 goals in 15 or so games.
Arsenal needs to make a smart January signing. We are desperate for a creative solution that fits the profile of what Arteta needs. The signing cannot be a glamour name for the sake of it. It needs to be someone that knows the league, can run, that is looking to shop window themselves. KSE shouldn’t be wasting the little money we have on perm signings that’ll come at a premium and stink of panic.
FALLING UP THE STAIRS
Wenger always found a way in the end. It might not have been pretty, but he always found a formula that let him scrape by. Whether it was that legendary back 5 that took us to the Champions League final, the discovery that Coquelin and Santi were quite good, or Mikel and Aaron… there was always a way.
Arteta has been mainlining Old Players, the street equivalent of cooking up dishwasher cubes. He’s been slipped something new though, that’s HUNGRY TALENT, the high is hopefully addicting, and maybe he’ll keep doing it now he understands the error of his ways.
The system he has now works. Hunger, energy, with technicians built for the vision. We need to remember how we fell up the stairs and stick with it, even if there are inevitable bumps in the road.
Final one, generally, Wenger would have his nightmare in November, or February. That’d be it then for the season. We had ours through October, November, and December. There’s a chance we might have knocked it out of the system. Sure, we’ll lose games, but the hope is the worst of our bad runs might be over.
All of the above is a big fantasy. We could get done by an Andy Carroll 93rd minute header, followed by Zaha reminding us why he’s the boss in the Ivorian national team. Us Arsenal fans NEVER learn not to touch the extremely painful HOPE button, but fuck it… it’s the first Monday of the year, no one wants to be reading warnings, so have a great day, listen to my podcast RIGHT NOW, then I’ll see you in the comments.