by .

The year is 2021. The future is bleak, face masks and Purrell are the currency of the land. West Ham United are genuinely an excellent side.

Imagine these visions in 2018?

West Ham had a good run out against City, beating them for xG, but losing the game. It’s kind of brutal that TV isn’t aligned better between European football and the league. How can you have City playing the first game of the day after a Champions League run out? Truly brutal.

Arsenal and Leicester are in similar boats this Sunday. I mean, bar the fact Arsenal had to do two away legs in the Europa, with our home leg being further away. Again, why does it have to be the first game of the day? Every little helps. The competitions need better alignment.

The big watchword amongst Arsenal fans atm is ‘THE RED ZONE.’ This terminology was big on Le Grove in the early days. People didn’t think it existed when we were calling for Arsenal to get a S&C coach to fix the injuries (remember Wenger getting a witch doctor in to solve the issue?). Well, now people are very much accepting of sports science. The basic premise… when you are fatigued, you have a higher chance of soft tissue injury. The fancy GPS kit they use helps staff understand where a player is in terms of their limit. When you hit the RedZone, there’s a higher chance you could ping something.

The corollary that many of us are worried about is the breakthrough of Jack Wilshere, when Wenger played him 54 times and the player never recovered… and the breakthrough season of Bukayo Saka, with Arteta being unable to drop the teenager. This is Wilshere.

‘I remember having conversations with the physios in my first year in the Arsenal team. They were like: ‘Look, you’re playing a lot…’ I told them: ‘I want to play”

“I was living the dream. I was 19, playing for Arsenal. We were challenging for the league, in the Champions League. No one was going to tell me I needed a rest. That’s one of my biggest regrets – I wish I’d listened to physios a little more, learned more about my body”

It’s very worrying. Arteta is under pressure and playing for the short term. Keeping players fit and healthy during their development is a longterm thing. ‘The player said he wanted to play’ shouldn’t factor. If I child wants to eat a bonfire, you don’t let them, unless you are a weak leader.

This Sunday feels like one of those plotlines in a film.

‘Come on Bukayo, just one more time. Do it for the boys.’

The Leicester game is another Cup Final, not because we’re going to do anything in the league, but because this project needs a major scalp after a rough run of games. Killing Brendan Rodgers title run after he shithoused us earlier in the season would be totally dreamy. He needs Saka if he has a single hope of it.

The manager knows he’s tired, his response is that fatigue is part of the game. Wenger, Ferguson, Pep, and pretty much every manager out there would say the same… but there needs to be a balance. Unai Emery fucked his top 4 hopes when he overplayed Aaron Ramsey after he returned. That sort of marginal error can kill you.

The only temptation on offer is that after today, it’s a 5-day rest until we play Burnley, a game you’d hope we could rest him.

Then it’s straight back into the Europa mixer for a doubleheader against Olympiacos, which is conveniently wedged between Spurs and West Ham United. This next batch of games is where the money is made. 6 wins and the season is saved. If we have a horrendous run, pick up some injuries, and drop out of the Europa, it’ll be a bloodbath with the fans.

This is football. Glory or death. No in-between.

Loan watch is going well. William Saliba has managed 10 games in a row, he’s certainly answering fitness questions and his fanbase is growing. Also worth noting that Dino Mavrapanos is doing well. Lots of admiring glances for one of Sven’s bets. It’d be great if one of them slipped into the squad next season. Both young, both have high ceilings, both have resale value.

Short one today. Before I go. A couple of things.

This internet is a shithole. There are literally thousands of basement dwellers whose only power in life is being mean on the internet. These cowards sometimes pop up in my comments section. I’ve had people send me e-mails this year complaining about it. I am always happy to be alerted to bad actors. If I get the mail, I sort it, every time.

What I have to reiterate, over and over and over again, is this: I am just a part-time writer. I work a fulltime job dropping New York 70 hour weeks. Advertising is where I make my money, not this website. I make ZERO money from tweets, podcasts or blogs. I am also a left-leaning snowflake. If there is someone saying mean things in the comments, trust me, it’s not because I am down with those comments.

So when you email me. Please consider this is just a big hobby on a site that looks sleek, modern, and clean… built for a 2.0 world.

Finally, some exciting news. I’m going to be a contributor for The Gooner. Layth has kindly given me a little bit of space to drop thoughts. I’ve always loved the fanzine. The jokes, elite banter, gossip, and the sketch on the back of mag was always a treat when I’d go to the games with my dad and football fam back in the day. Fanzines were and are a massive part of the footballing experience, I’m glad it’s continuing, but it could always do with your support. Sign up here, it’s money well spent.

On that note, see you in the comments. I’ll be here with an On The Whistle Podcast tomorrow.

1,226 Responses to “REDZONE FEARS BUBBLING”

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  1. China1

    Dissenter I’m sure he’d kill for the liverpool job but maybe we have some leverage

    We’re a far more interesting project than Rangers – a team who only need to win the Scottish league to tick all their boxes whereas arsenal at least have pretentious of being a major player in a much better league and aiming for league titles and CL titles even if we’re miles off that currently

    Also with Klopp being at Liverpool one would assume he’s not going anywhere any time soon so the question is does gerrard really want to just repeat his Scottish league achievements again and again year after year waiting for the liverpool job? What if Klopp is there for another 5 years? The SPL will surely drain a quality manager of any enthusiasm sooner or later

    As well gerrard must know his rep is very good at the moment but if he stays at rangers another 3 years waiting for liverpool there’s no guarantees it will still be this good by the tine liverpool are looking for a manager.

    Sometimes you have to choose an alternative rather than your first choice because there are too many unknowns and risks involved in just going for the one you want

    I think it would be very surprised if gerrard would prefer rangers to arsenal this summer, though ofc it’s very unlikely this is going to happen. Arsenal won’t sack arteta and if we do I doubt we’d go for gerrard

  2. Sid

    ‘2 days later Bergkamp63 does his best Lazarus impersonation and is back ‘


    Supreme leader: Take away the stone
    Tony: but lord theres a bad odour for he has been there 3 days.
    Supreme leader: did i not tell you believe, Bergkamp63 come out!
    Bergkamp63 came out with his hands wrapped around his longstuff dripping with sauce.

  3. Dark Hei

    I have no idea why there is this line of thought that if you are a Wenger-AKB you will be an Arteta-AKB.

    I mean Wenger brought Arteta to Arsenal and they had good relations but thats it.

    Their style of football is drastically different.

    It is like we only look at the narrative and avoid looking at the football.

  4. Tony

    Dark Hei
    Me neither.

    Just the way the acronyms are the same.

    However, there are some overlaps where Wenger supporters have become Arteta supporters.

    To be honest I’ll be happier when the fan base isn’t divided.

    Whether Arteta is going to unite the fans is unlikely unless he starts to live up to his believers expectations. If Arteta does, other disillusioned fans will follow.

  5. Guns of SF

    Dark Hei
    Arteta is the anti wenger actually

    From style of play, to management of players, to having an eye for talent ,etc.
    Total opposite.

    Arteta is likely a boring rigid fart in real life, so he molds the team to what he feels comfortable with and doing.

    Wenger was a bright and visionary coach. His downfall was he made Arsenal his own and could not find proper boundaries and did not move from his principles and in the end, was played by gazidis and ozil and to boot, he could not organize a proper defense. He did love Arsenal, be bled for us

    Arteta , ? nah

  6. Aussie+Gooner

    Personally I support Arsenal – not the cults of Wenger or Arteta or any other individual for that matter. As a fan base we have to reach higher than that and want only what is best for the club – not our own agendas or fetishes! Unfortunately there are many on here that find constructive criticism of our current regime to be heretical behaviour!

  7. kjelli

    AMN is doing ok at WBA but nothing spectacular, as we know because of his limited technical
    ability.. Pepe needs to muscle up bit to adapt to the epl . If we replace Elneny next summer
    with a playmaker (Bissouma fx) were good to go at the Champ.Leaque..

  8. Batistuta

    Good result yesterday, some good performances and some rotation finally.

    Again though, I’d rather the younger players at least get some game time rather than the stupid Auba sub or even someone like Martinelli getting much needed game time, if this is a long term project for the club and Arteta, then it should be less of Willian and more of the Brazilian. Two assists yesterday was okay but overall performance was meh.

    You see Utd give the likes of Greenwood game time regularly and wonder how ours are meant to develop without getting minutes. Saka has benefited from regular game time from when Emery was here because it breeds confidence, need some of that for Martinelli especially as everyone can see he’s an incredible talent

  9. Leedsgunner

    As I’ve already said I’m pleased about the win yesterday… but we need to learn why we continue to concede so early in the game?

    Good response yesterday but we continue to make victories so much harder for ourselves… why aren’t we learning from our mistakes.

  10. Steveyg87

    Arteta has finally figured out you can’t play ESR and Odegaard in the same team, leaves us too light in MF, he would also do well to keep our CB pair as is, Mari, is a massive presence in the back. David Luiz still has another season in the tank and is one of our leaders. All in all excellent result

  11. Pierre

    OGS making a big thing of a ball touching a player’s hand, whereas Arteta says nothing about another penalty decision given in favour of Arsenal being overturned despite not being a clear and obvious mistake…

    Why is it that “clear and obvious” doesn’t apply when Arsenal are awarded a penalty .
    The proof that it wasn’t a clear and obvious mistake is that it toook about 20 replays of the incident to come to the end conclusion..

    Referees and VAR will continue to give these decisions against Arsenal if we do not contest them , and that is the manager’s job to bring it to the publics attention.

    Fortunately, we won both games that the penalties were overturned, but those decisions could have cost us 6 points…

    “Clear and obvious” should be applied to all clubs , including Arsenal ..

    And before anyone brings up the handball for our penalty , that was clear and obvious and why VAR asked the ref to check it baffled me as it was obviously a penalty.

    And why didn’t VAR ask the ref to check the foul on Pepe as it took them 20 replays to come to a decision that wasn’t clear and obvious…

  12. AFC Forever

    Leeds, agree mate. We have to cut out individual errors. Hopefully once we get a settled defensive partnership 4 and players like Partey & Tierney back regularly, that will improve.

  13. Graham62

    Surely someone, somewhere, has an explanation for Martinelli’s absence.

    What has he done to deserve such treatment. It can’t be injury based as he’s on the bench.

    I think we, as fans, deserve an explanation.

  14. China1

    Yeah like I keep saying people can’t see the woods from the trees

    That’s a quality performance yesterday and a lovely result. I’ll take that all day and credit to all the players and Mikel for making it happen.

    That is a completely separate point from having major concerns about how he handles various young squad players tho. Or is the only thing you need to do as a manager to be free of criticism is win the last match you played? Never mind we’ve lost a few games recently and struggled against Benfica despite winning – as long as we won yesterday there’s nothing to see here just eternal joy and happiness apparently

  15. Bob N16

    China, of course Arteta deserves our criticism.

    I like many others was mystified by Saliba’s misuse and now I am struggling to understand why Martinelli has not had more opportunities. We do have to acknowledge that particularly with Martinelli, he plays in a position where with no injuries we are well stocked.

    Towards the end of last season three of our players were in the top 10 teenage prospects in Europe. Saka has clearly thrived, Saliba showing what he can do in Nice and Martinelli, let’s not forget, has played sparingly after a serious injury lay off. Progression will never be linear with young players.

    I think what exasperated myself and a fair few others yesterday that instead of applauding a job well done and plenty of positives (including Arteta’s difficult balancing act with rotation), some clearly agenda-driven posters felt their only way they could cast a negative on proceedings was that our captain came on for the last 10 minutes instead of Martinelli.

    ‘Eternal joy and happiness’ is not what supporting your team is all about in my opinion ( you were obviously being facetious)I think enjoying a convincing victory against a team in the top four probably is!