So here we are, another Monday, another big week of games.
This Thursday, we avenge our Europa League exit and the covid infection that shutdown the Premier League.
At the weekend, we welcome a North London Derby game against a Spurs team that has Bale and Kane in BIG form.
This is what it’s all about.
Quite incredible some of the carry-on from some of the fanbase after the result this weekend. Results haven’t been good enough, you can say that for most of the league this season, but performances are ticking up.
I don’t think it’s ever been so clear what we need to do to fix Arsenal moving forward.
Cut out the errors in both boxes.
We have underperforming forwards that have very high levels to their game. We had elite finishing at the start of Emery’s run that disguised bad underlying performances. We had elite finishing at the start of Arteta’s rein that disguised a lack of creative production.
Fixing our forwards feels like the easier of the two challenges. If you create good chances, you’ll eventually start taking them when you have good finishers.
Conceding from errors is painful. We’ve dropped 8 points from our last 4 away games with the dumbest mistakes. In this league, with everyone as shite as they are, that’s the difference between ‘THE TABLE IS ALL THAT MATTERS’ and sitting in 5th place.
Xhaka made a horrible error, but he hasn’t been horrible all season. He’s also our second-best midfielder in that position, so you can’t drop him. He’s important to our game. People banging the table calling him utterly shite all day yesterday aren’t paying attention. He’s actually been really good defensively and going forward since Christmas. There isn’t a better option for us.
That doesn’t mean there won’t be in the summer. Xhaka has no competition, but there is absolutely no doubt there will be some come the start of next season. I suspect we’ll be trying to find a young centre midfielder that can phase him out over the year.
As for the other errors. Part of it can be addressed with coaching, part of it will hopefully naturally come, the other part will obviously be finding better players that don’t make horrendous errors on the regular.
We are already better than the peak-Emery Arsenal. We are better on and off the ball. We’re more resilient. Everyone knows what they are doing. The bit in the middle between the two boxes dominates and controls games. Now the club has to work on the errors in both boxes.
One concern a friend had earlier is that Arteta is building a City-lite with fuck all funds. Can we afford someone that’s not going to lose the ball 6 yards out like that? Well, from a title-winning perspective, we’ll never compete with City without the money. But from a top 4 perspective? This sort of style is absolutely the move going forward. There’s very little difference between us and our rivals now… in our worst ever season. Make 3-4 good signings in the summer and we’re in the mixer next season.
People calling me out as a spin merchant said the same through the Wenger period. They said it when I called Emery early. They said it when I called out Raul. You can be pissed that this site doesn’t echo your entrenched views on Arteta, but I can assure you, it’ll get harder and harder to roll with that. We’re not simply having an underlying metrics conversation now, the improvements aren’t marginal, they’re big… and most importantly, it all passes the eye test. The only spinning going on is the wheels of people that deeply hoped this would fail.
I’m sorry, I don’t think that’s happening, and next season, I think people will see that.
Right, short post today, please tune into a podcast where I debate progress with Matt and Johnny. Two people that show how you debate things you don’t like in a way that reflects debates in a bar or pub. You don’t have to be an arse because you don’t like someone’s opinion.
See you in the comments. x