BIG news for the Guendouzi fan club coming out of Germany. Bild, their version of The Sun, reckons there’s no chance of the loan renewing and they also state there won’t be a perm move. The article suggests his theatrics don’t work for the club. This story has come off the back of a 7 week period where the player has started one game, dived in his own box to gift a goal, and had his coach call him an ‘animal’ in relation to the way he learns.
Matteo is one of those boring stories that hangs in the air when people who have no clue about human dynamics whine on that his deeply negative attributes are exactly what is required for a team like Arsenal to progress. They mistake being a dickhead with being someone that cares. In Sunday League football, that might hold weight, but in elite team sport, being a supreme dickhead doesn’t wash anymore. It’s not just football that refuses to tolerate it, Reed Hastings, Netflix founder calls talents like Matteo G ‘brilliant jerks’. He doesn’t accept them at Netflix, a company that has changed the face of Hollywood by building a high-performance culture of dense talent that is highly collaborative.
Dickheads slow things down, which isn’t conducive to a time-poor environment when you’re playing three games a week. If everything is an argument, a mediation, or a spanner in the works… it can be a slow drain of energy. Leadership loses trust capital with the wider group because the player being indulged is being put above the rules. Teams don’t like working with dickheads, because it saps energy. You also lose collective focus, because the toxic tentacles of gossip grip the team. Kola and Mustafi had to go because they were fueling those sorts of problems, then they landed at Schalke and staged a coup immediately.
The Matteo Gs camel-back-breaking moment might have been Neil Maupay, but it certainly wasn’t the only issue. The two massive arguments in Dubai, plus plenty of problems back at Colney you don’t know about snowballed, and not even just with Arteta. Freddie had his issues as well, some mocking antics were caught on camera at a training session when the Swedish caretaker wasn’t looking last December. Really not helpful, especially in a crisis with an Arsenal legend trying to help.
Hertha Berlin are coasting down shit creek, no paddle, head in the mess drowning. Matteo is one of the biggest talents in their squad, and even they don’t see the pay off being worth the hassle.
Dickheads are not good for culture.
We still have some of that dickhead behaviour that goes on at Arsenal. Auba has been guilty of it this season off-field, and in midweek, it looked like an example of him flexing his power muscles when he dropped a low energy disaster class. There are some people in life that have the unique gift of being able to lift a room with a smile… but also the ability to crater vibes without saying a word. Without meeting him, Auba seems to be that guy. He didn’t look interested in the week, it was a shocking performance… it could have been ‘one of those nights’ or it could be a sign that he hasn’t forgiven the system for slapping him for his timing transgression in the week.
“When you have clear ideas and principles, it’s about applying them,”
“There’s no point just telling people what we expect from them, then not making the decisions when those things are not accomplished.”
It’s always something, isn’t it? We should be going into this weekend feeling pretty positive. What we’re mostly thinking is how does Arteta manage the squad after a low-focus 90 in midweek? Do you start Auba after that? Or do you give minutes to Gabriel Martinelli who immediately lifted the game with a powerful 12 minutes? It’s tough, because really, you need your best player for the remainder of the season… what Arteta has to gauge is whether that Auba performance was a bad game, which players have, or a middle finger.
The most important thing this weekend is beating West Ham. We’re mid-March. They are in the top 4 because they absolutely deserve to be there. They are well organised, powerful, tactically astute… and they’ve been beating big teams all season.
You can be a ‘PREM TABLE IS ALL THAT MATTERS’ table banger… and live in a world of misery about Arsenal being in 10th place.
OR, you can say that the first half of the season was extremely shitty, but Arteta survived it and the gift he was given was a second chance.
Here’s the table since Christmas.
We’re now playing like a top 4 side. You see it on the pitch. You can see it with the performances we’re putting in. Cut the errors out of the above and we’d be 8 points better off at a minimum. Remember, we can control unforced errors. Our sustainable football model has us dominating games, defending well, and creating lots of high-quality chances. Errors can be tamed with coaching and better players this summer.
Arteta’s job until the end of the season is to prove that he can consistently deliver high-quality performances.
West Ham is going to be another opportunity to show he has the sauce to keep this half-season form going into next season.
The big challenge tomorrow is going to be fitness levels. West Ham are partly succeeding this season because they are rocking 1 game a week at the moment. Arteta has had a rocky time managing the fitness between Europa League games. He did it to perfection against Spurs last week. Can he manage it against a high flying team that doesn’t have a Europa game?
I think resting Partey and Odegaard was a smart move. Those two give us the control and forward momentum you simply don’t get with Dani or Mo. I’d like to see Pablo Mari in central defence, I think Cedric Soares is our best right back at the moment, and hopefully the resting of Bukayo will see him burst out of the traps.
Who knows what you do with the #9 position?
These are the big moments Arteta and his staff need to manage. In the grand scheme of things, the Premier League is finished, it’s all about beating Racist FC in the quarters of the Europa… but the fans are watching. West Ham is the Essex Gooners bragging rights derby. The Premier League will also be paying attention… can we give Moyes the same laser focus we gave Jose last week? Can Arteta slay his original footballing father again?
I hope so. Win tomorrow and we go into International week on a very sweet high. Let’s see what the boys have to offer!
P.S. I answered some questions for Arsenal Addict. David is a good friend of the blog, an OG blogger from back in the day, and he’s firing up his site again. Take a read here and give him a follow @ArsenalAddict.
ALSO, we just dropped a special podcast with @SVCarboholic from the Touchy Gooners podcast. We discuss the Arsenal project through the snobby lens of progressive football. It was great fun… how football chat should be imo. We’ll be doing a part 2 soon. Please check out their podcast, it’s excellent, here’s their Patreon for more elite content.