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.