There’s literally nothing worse than losing under this current regime.
I’m wondering if it’s unique to Arsenal, the moment, or just football now… but every club has it. United fans talk about #OGSOUT after a draw. Pep was a fraud last season. Klopp amazingly has detractors.
I saw someone bemoaning ‘trust the process’ and ‘back the manager’ yesterday. Like, I get it, when something is clearly dead, you’ve got to move it on fast… we’re not there yet. Worth noting that West Ham fans were very much Moyes out at the end of last season (and the start of this one), look at them now, chasing down top 4 with Jesse fucking Lingaard looking like a world-beater.
Arsenal fans are kind of like West Ham fans these days, beaten down by a very long stretch of mediocrity, now everyone is a nihilist. My favourites of those types are the people that backed Wenger to the hilt when it was clear he’d reached his ceiling. If he’d been moved on in 2013, I’m not sure we’d be where we are right now. Summer 2015 would never have happened. We might not have needed a Don Raul. Ivan might have actioned a Sven like plan early. Could have been very different.
Now we’re in the worst of all situations… the ‘no quick fix’ one.
We tried the quick fix in Wenger’s last season. It didn’t work.
We tried another round of quick fix in Emery’s first summer. It didn’t work.
We then went for strike 3 trying to save Emery and that also didn’t work.
Mikel Arteta is David Cameron with Liam Byrne’s ‘I’m afraid there’s no money’ note after Gordon B lost the election. I remember writing about this a decade ago… the longer you leave a problem in football, the more expensive it is to fix. Well, here we are. 18 months into a 5 year plan and it’s difficult because we’re reengineering everything at the same time. We’re doing that because we’re trying to build sustainable football and a sustainable transfer model… not something that is fleeting.
That doesn’t mean there’s no hope, far from it… it just means if you’re a fan and you think there’s a silver bullet manager, you’re living in a deluded world. High profile managers won’t touch us because we’re a resume spoiler. Hot shit young managers, like Nagelsmann, are not in our league. So you either bum it around with names like Nuno (Emery) or you take a chance on an upstart coach like we’ve done.
There are two challenges we have at the moment.
- We don’t have the players needed to play the way Arteta wants to play in enough volume
- It is super questionable whether Edu is the Technical Director who can lead us out of this shithole moment
I think if Arteta was just coaching, I’d be more confident about the next 6 months. The fact he is anywhere near the decision-making process for players is deeply concerning.
Outside player recruitment, which we can talk about another day, there are things Arteta needs to get right super quick.
ACT ON THE INSIGHTS
In business, I find there are two types of operators at a certain level. Those that can recognize problems and do the job. Those that can recognize problems, do the job, and fix the problems. The first is Matty Flamini on the football pitch, pointing everywhere, but not doing much about it. What you really want is the Matty Flamini post-career, looking at climate change, and coming armed with a solution that WILL save the world.
Arteta, at the moment, looks like he’s midfielder Flamini.
He points to the problem really well. The issue? He doesn’t do enough about that said problem. In fact, sometimes he points at a problem and goes to great lengths to praise the offenders. He has a saving grace here, the pandemic fucked world football. Money didn’t move, no one was taking chances, we were left with a bloated squad.
This summer, we’ll truly see what sort of a leader is.
If you are pointing your finger at individual errors, you need to fix them. We can’t see a new deal for David Luiz, he’s made more errors than most this past season. We have to minimize Xhaka next season because he’s another one who has mistakes costed in. Dani Ceballos should not be renewed. Big Mo needs to be passed on. You might ask questions about our keeper.
If you are pointing your finger about our lack of edge in the attacking phase of our game, you’ve got to stop giving deals to old players that can’t do the job. Auba is a great striker, but he’s not really what Arteta needs from a 9 and he’s a million miles from what we need on the wing. Willian can’t move, it’s embarrassing that Arteta thought he’d be the move. Lacazette, he’s been good, but against the backdrop of the other two being dreadful. Pepe, not cut out for it.
… it’s a mess… but we can’t keep pointing at it. It needs to be fixed. We need to move forward.
We can’t go into this summer knowing the problems and not fixing them. Worse, we can’t know what the problems are… then make more mistakes to exacerbate them.
DODGE THE THINGS THAT MAKE ARSENAL FAIL
This is a subcategory of the first issue.
It’s easy to work in a winning environment. Everyone is confident. Pressure is lower. Things feel sexy. You don’t learn an awful lot. It’s like driving on the open road.
The losing environment is the most important place to identify the true character of the people that make up your team. Who showed up every day? Who gave 100% in the dressing room? Who turned up early and left late? Who was curious? Who didn’t hide? You find out who can drive on the Champs-Élysée round about.
Arteta looked like he based his summer on the cup win. He should have based it on our league form. True character, in this side, isn’t BIG games, it’s the little games that don’t matter. 10 months later, we’re dealing with the same issues. The Liverpool game was about character, not ability… but how can you be surprised? When the games don’t matter, these players NEVER show up. The lessons of the Liverpool game need to be carried into the summer. You cannot coach character.
DOUBLE DOWN ON THE THINGS MAKE YOU BETTER
Arteta has two masters, the fans, and the results. You have to be doing a good job with both to stay in the job.
What makes the fans happy? Young players.
What makes the team better? Young players.
Who has consistently let us down this season? Senior players.
You could say that is overly simplistic, but I’m not sure I’d agree. Young players give you fight, hunger, and sellable assets. There’s no argument that, in our situation, signing 32-year-old wingers from Chelsea is the better move.
The frustration I have with Arteta is that he keeps on forgetting what kept him in a job. It was not Auba. It was not Willian. It was not Lacazette. It was players like Saka, Martinelli, ESR, and Tierney. Hungry players.
I don’t want to see Arsenal trying to sign Griezmann in the summer. I don’t want to see us in for 27 year olds. Our finances don’t give us the baller money needed to get the best of players at those ages. We need to go young. Martin Odegaard, that’s the profile we want. Martinelli, starting every week, that’ll make us smile. William Saliba needs to come back and be coached to the greatness we know is there.
No more bumming around trying to justify horrendous summer decisions on senior players. Move them on if we can and replace with names that are hungry to impress.
Fans will forgive young players, they will not forgive underperforming coasters on big money.
What’s the fucking story at Arsenal?
You always knew what it was with Wenger.
We’re going to go invincible.
We’re going to have the best kids in the world grow together.
We’re going to build out a new project with Brits.
The plans didn’t always work, but you took a ride with Wenger.
Jose Mourinho always had a great narrative you could follow along with.
Jurgen Klopp keeps you bubbling along.
What is the vision with Arteta? I know he wants to play nice football, but because he doesn’t have a narrative, it makes it hard to know what’s going on.
If the Liverpool game was in the bin, give us a hint of what’s going on, and staff accordingly.
The management-speak makes it hard to follow what we’re doing. I can see things unfolding on the pitch I like, but I’d like to know how this gets better. Where is the momentum coming from? What are we planning to fix this summer? What is a summer going to do to arrest 12 defeats 30 games into a season?
We lack a good narrative. You know, even if the narrative is painful, I’d take it. My worry now is that there’s a lack of clarity in the system and it’s further clouded because the person writing it is the person who is trying to learn the ropes of coaching on his first job.
Hopefully, all of the above is being taken care of. Whether you like it or not, the City and Liverpool games have not been par the course since December. That performance at the weekend was a kink in the system, but one the fans widely understand is there. Arteta and Edu need to action it. Move us forward. Get the fans back on track with this rebuild. We can’t keep on pointing at it. If we are this time next season, it’ll be time for a new manager, because the project will have failed.
Have a great day, see you in the comments. x