Well, I was going to write a blog yesterday, but the news cycle was so grim I had to pass.
There was an incident. I don’t want to go to deep on it. But we need to talk about it.
Kids do stupid things. I could barely dress myself at 16. Thank the lord there was no Twitter during those formative years when I was trying to discover who the fuck I was. Even as a blogger in my twenties, some of my old work was unbelievably crass and embarrassing. We cannot hold kids to ridiculous standards, they are learning life in public, they will make mistakes. Sometimes HUGE mistakes. The more famous they are, the harder those mistakes land because we thread them through the needle of how we behave as grown adults. That’s not fair.
The most grim part about the whole thing is someone close to him leaked that video, not because it was in the public interest (it wasn’t), but to destroy the human in question. Once things like that leak, that’s it, it’s there forever… on every level, that sort of behaviour is grotesque. It’s cockroach behaviour. Pure scum. The intent is destruction, it should be treated like a subcategory of revenge porn. It’s digital assault, designed to inflict pain. I hate it.
What made the whole thing worse for me was reading all the homophobic commentary that followed it. Like, honestly, do we really need that nonsense in 2021? Are we not at the stage in society where it should be really fucking shameful to have a scummy opinion about LGBTQ? It’s so dated now, the comments ‘nearly’ make me feel sorry for the perpetrators. Like when everyone laughs at their weird uncle who says he doesn’t like foreign food and found that Sainsbury’s Christmas ad problematic. How can people be so pathetic? How can their lives be so fucking empty that they need to be mean like that?
The player in question does need to take some responsibility. The video wasn’t standard dressing room ‘banter’ and it certainly was not a case of ‘that’s just kids these days.’ It was VERY strange. The dressing room, however you cut it, is the workplace (lol, so HR here). BUT, let’s be honest, it was no weirder than the stuff that goes on at rugby parties at University… come on… you’ve seen weirder… Tarquin and Johannes showing off in the kitchen with an old sock and a pint of Tetley’s. Jokes aside, it was dumb to have his phone out in a dressing room. It was dumb to record the scene. It was dumb to post it to Snapchat when you’re on the verge of fame. But it happened, we need to move on.
The player needs to go into PR Airplane Mode.
The video was bad, but all that showed was poor judgement and shit friends. The bigger concern is that he’s whining in the French media for the 3rd time in a month about being given marching orders after 2.5 games. He seems to think the coaching staff missed all his training sessions and the loan games Arteta will have studied (because he’s a massive football nerd). We get it, it’s embarrassing to be sent home, everyone wants to play… but the truth is the best way to get back at the coaching staff is to keep your head down and let the fancy footwork, well-timed defensive actions, and line-breaking passes do the talking.
We all want him to thrive. Every single one of us wants him in the starting 11. He’s built for the league and exciting football. If he wants to achieve that, he’s going to have to prove himself like everyone else at Arsenal bar Willian.
Young players land minutes. ESR, Saka, MO, and Martinelli all speak to that. His career at Arsenal will be about what he does on and off the pitch, time to switch off the phone, reject the calls from the French media, and focus on becoming an Arsenal great.
Talking of great… Thomas Partey is going to be available at the weekend. That is HUGE news for the run-in. If we channel the first-half performance from Wolves, with the second from Villa, I can assure you, things will pick up. There will be a blow-out. We will start finding some of the sauce we need. Things will get better.
I am FASCINATED to see what the deal is for the Leeds game.
There are two big priorities for me.
How do we re-engage Auba?
He’s our superstar. Our captain. The biggest smile on the pitch. He’s having a very rough time at the moment, he’s had a poor season by his own standards, but we need to get him firing. Our biggest issue now is we can’t finish even though we’re creating chances. We need to have our best striker burying them. Does he play on the left where arguably we have more aggressive players? Or do we play him through the middle, where Lacazette has really owned that false nine position? BIG DECISIONS.
How do we have Odegaard on the pitch?
He’s quality, we can see that. He has that final ball that we’re missing. Where does he play? On the right in place of Pepe who has improved? In that #10 role after a quiet game from ESR? Or next to Partey where he can pull strings and offer mobility Xhaka doesn’t have? BIG DECISIONS.
What do we do about Tierney?
I think we need to bite the bullet and accept that Saka needs to deputise. There was a spell where his overlapping runs were really causing problems at the weekend. He can drop back and give us double the firepower. That’d be one scary team on the break. Remember, left-back is like, the new #10 position for coolness.
Arteta needs to end this year with an Arsenal on fire in a positive sense. If the fans are drooling over an exciting brand of football delivered by a youthful side of hungry terriers… he’ll be in good shape. If the football is shite, he’s in trouble. The next 4 weeks will determine how the fans will treat him next season. Fingers crossed he shows his very best, the fans certainly need it!
Ok, I am tired now… so you should just have it out in the comments. SEE YOU THERE. x