by .

Well, the weekend was very interesting.

Spurs lost. Leicester lost. UNITED DROPPED POINTS LOLOLOL. Everton lost.

Project #Top4 Hope continues, even if unlikely.

What has been interesting is reading a whole number of Arsenal fans trying to reframe the last 5 weeks to keep up the pretense that actually, they were right.

Here’s some things we need to deal with.

The Squad

Arteta stumbling on ESR as a creative solution isn’t a problem. In the apocalypse, if you stored canned fruit, no one would say… ‘fuck that guy and his peaches, that was luck.’ Arteta and his backroom staff massively rated ESR, they kept him around when they could have loaned him, so ‘stumbling’ on him is a bit like calling the canned fruit guy a wanker for being well prepared.

Reacting Under Pressure

I’m also seeing a lot of ‘he caved under pressure’ with the kids. Well, sure, he changed tact. But when you cave, you generally don’t do something more risky. Going with youth was always the right thing to do, but let’s not pretend that was easy option. The easy option would have been to bring Mesut back into the mixer. To whine in the press about a lack of talent. To stick with experience. Going with the kids was balls out, especially against Chelsea. Dropping Willian and Luiz was a big move. It worked, thankfully.

Also, we live in this weird world where people think changing strategy is a sign of weakness. NO. Pivoting in the face of new information is the adult thing to do. ‘haha, you changed to get to the right solution’ in any real-world situation would not be something that you’d say… because people would call you a fucking moron.

He was close to the sack

Here’s the big one, ‘he only did it because he was nearing the sack.’ Actually, he wasn’t. Not at any point. Arsenal didn’t flinch. They told the world he was part of the longterm plan. They held their ground. This seemed to have worked.

Chelsea is called elite because they fire loads of managers. I think this is an incorrect assessment. Sacking people isn’t elite, it’s a luxury. Players at that club have a direct line into leadership. When things go south, they whine, they’re listened to, they normally get their way.

We are thankfully not Chelsea. Vinai and Edu stuck to their guns and it paid off. The players found out the hard way that they couldn’t down tools on Arteta. The club shipped out the problem players. They totally backed the manager. This might have been because they didn’t have a plan. It could have been that they worried for their own careers if this decision went down the shitter, but whatever it was, so far, it looks smart.

Aston Villa didn’t fire Dean Smith after a narrow miss last season, that decision looks smart right now.

Southampton didn’t fire Ralph Hassenhutl last season, that looks really smart right now.

Brighton didn’t fire Graham Potter, again, it hasn’t fully paid off, but it looks pretty smart now.

That said, if Arteta had been fired, it would have been fair. You couldn’t have argued it. However, it might have set a Chelsea like precedent with the players.

So, moving on. It’s transfer deadline day. The club is in far better shape than it was. There’s a vision forming and the football is getting better.

Today, I really hope Ben Knapper pulls his finger out and moves on the players we need to move on.

The back half of the season is about preparation for next season, which will look a little more like normality.

Joe Willock and Reiss Nelson made a fuss about not leaving last summer. That ‘we’ll be good’ experiment failed dismally. Time to get some game time into their legs and get them firing. There can be no excuses for them staying. They aren’t going to play and we have no cup games for them.

AMN, a player I really like, needs to find a loan. If his beef with the club is that he wants to play as a midfielder, we need to find him a club that’ll give him midfield minutes. I think I’d prefer to see him at West Brom than Leicester or Southampton. He should go and play for Sam Allardyce and be a star. Keep them up.  Sharpen the concentration. Learn the lessons Serge G did in the midlands. Come back to Arsenal next season a more mature player.

Callum Chambers also needs minutes. He has a 43 year deal with Arsenal, so it’s important he gets back to full fitness. The path is blocked at Arsenal. I think he could be really useful for us and apparently he’s a bit of a gem at the training ground. Get him to a club and develop him. He was doing great things before that horrendous injury.

Then we need to move on Mustafi. Get him out. He’s played 43 minutes for us in the Premier League this season, give him no more. It’s so sad to see a 28-year-old see out his deal for the money. What a waster.

Players in

Unless it’s more loans, I really don’t see the point in spunking money on 30-year-olds. We have cover in most positions. Go with it. No more deals for players fading physically.

New deals

I really, really can’t stand listening to Arteta pump David Luiz the way he does. His one true weakness is a men in their thirties. He CANNOT possibly be considering a new deal for a player that was all over the place earlier in the season. You ‘hope’ it’s just fluff talk to get us to the end of the season, but we’ve seen him double down on his love once before, so who knows. That temptation should be killed.

Same with Lacazette as well. I love what the player has given us, but it’s time for the next plan. We need to be thinking about fresh blood. We have to ship him out.

Summer transfers

The hope is that we’ll make some cash this summer. Covid vaccines are rolling out, which is superb. That’ll mean fans will be back in the ground. That should awaken the markets. Matteo G will fetch a pretty penny, the Fail-Enders who don’t cut it will bring in good fee, and Torreira will have plenty of suiters. If we can rake in £70m, that’ll give us what we need for a world class centre midfielder and the loan fee for Odegaard for next season.

The remainder of this season is low pressure. Rack up points for a speculative run at top 4 (8 points to 4th now). Try and win the Europa League. See how the team handles the next blip that’ll arrive.

All eyes are on next season though… we need to see the project come together for a full 9 months. Fingers crossed, we’re shaping up nicely.

P.S. We dropped an ON THE WHISTLE with Johnny (check out his Youtube), Dom, and Matt. It is a GOOD conversation. Tune in.

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Jump to comment form ↓

  1. salparadisenyc


    Pretty narrow view your rocking regarding Arteta disliking youth.

    Mental to me the weaponization of Saliba because club bottled his loan in fall. Including Saliba prior to January had 8 CBs on hand, from what i’ve seen loan the right call as he’s quite raw and needs minutes for his development. Wasn’t going to get that this season at Arsenal.

    Balogun clearly contract issue but on playing front i’d rather see him in squad to Eddie whose 21.

    Guendouzi is half year younger than Ødegaard whose not considered youth in your view, don’t really need to dredge up well reported history between Arteta and Douzi. Plenty of pretty girls I can’t stand.

  2. Karsa


    That’s the point – a good manager would be sitting down with this type of talent

    Maybe he is. We don’t know do we. Maybe Balogun’s agent won’t sit down. We simply don’t know.

  3. Marc


    You are assuming that these players are going to come back to Arsenal stronger and improve us.

    They are not Arteta burns bridges by being an arrogant up his own arse twat.

    These players will leave for low or less than we paid for them and go on to be top players or ones who could have earned us good fees.

    Arteta is not good enough.

  4. AFC Forever


    “Marc big reach for me to say Arteta doesn’t utilise youth.”

    More than a big reach, it’s simply not true.

  5. AFC Forever


    ESR 20, Saka 19, Martinelli 19 have all been given regular game time. Martinelli, unfortunately, suffered a nasty injury. Just signed Odegaard 22. Gabriel is 23, Tierney 23, Holding 25 and we have just shipped out Socratis 32, Ozil 32, Mustafi 28 and Kolasinac 27.

    AMN 23, Willock 21, Nketiah 21, Balogun 19 have all been given games. It’s not Artetas fault if they don’t take the chances offered or aren’t ready yet. Who in that list should be playing regularly?
    The irony is, the same people saying he doesn’t like young players are the same youngs who have been slating Nketiah and Willock as not good enough.

    Arteta, unfortunately, is now a victim of the Arteta Out crowd to which you belong, which means everything he does is wrong and anything that can be perceived as a good thing, is discredited. Immature way to behave and it is also disingenuous.

  6. Karsa

    Er “I’m going to win the CL in 3 seasons” springs to mind.

    Willian said that Arteta told him that he wanted to win the Champions League by the time Williqn met.
    Not that he was going to do so.

    If our manager said he didn’t want to win it then that would be something to beat him with.

  7. Marc


    Having standards on conduct is applicable to most jobs and no one who’s reasonable would argue with the idea of having them.

    It’d generally a good idea to apply them to everyone though.

    As for Arteta – it’s not personal. He’s not good enough end of. He started this season with a squad that is better than what Emery had in his first season – why is top 4 a non negotiable for Emery but not Arteta?

    We’ll mostly finish 8th to 12th, 7th if Arteta’s lucky and Pedro and his sheep will make excuses. Next season will be a repeat and Pedro and the sheep will make more excuses.

    What is a reasonable expectation for Arteta?

  8. Marc


    “Ambition is now viewed as arrogance?”

    You can be arrogant if you’re good. When you are a rookie I’d focus on qualifying for the competition before talking to anyone about winning it.

    When will Arteta failing to even qualifying for the CL be not good enough?

  9. Thorough

    At this point I think our midifle d base needs a partner for Partey, and nobody can convince me Xhaka or Elneny is a better choice for that than Guendozi.

    Concerning Saliba, nobody is angry he was sent on loan, the anger is more about the previous 6 months. This was a teenager coming from a different league having family issues and a coach makes up his mind on him after the first training session, then goes ahead to totally osyrasize him from the team. That’s absolutely mental from Arteta. He made up his mind about Saliba within minutes yet keeps condoning Luiz, Williams, Xhaka and the other wasters. That’s what the anger is about. He didn’t even give the boy a fighting chance. He just saw him and decided ‘Young man, you’re sinking, no two ways about it’.

  10. Rich


    If there’s reduced demand for tickets

    KSE are caught between a rock and a hard place

    To increase the demand, they’ll have to improve the quality of the product + service, which means investment in the team

    Or decrease the price, which means deflation in match day revenue

    I’m not sure how COVID will effect demand for tickets + boxes

    I signed up the the season ticket waiting list back in 2007

    My ticket came through in 2015 if I remember correctly

    But I was living in Sydney at the time, so didn’t take up on the option

    Depends how many signed up to the waiting list, are willing to take up the option.

    Hopefully some dead relative I never knew existed leaves me a significant chunk of change, I’d absolutely love to have £100,000 p/a to spend on a seasonal box

  11. TheBayingMob

    “ BTW, you may consider Avram Grant as a bum, but he has the highest win percentage of all Chelsea managers under Abramovitch. Higher than Arteta…”

    You’re not comparing apples with apples there. Wenger had a great record when it was just Arsenal and United and the rest of the league were fucking toilet. Once other teams wised up and got better players with more PL money that scenario turned on him. Avram Grant was from a different time, it doesn’t make sense to bring his stats into the conversation today.