You know what I thought was very amusing? The story in The Sun leaked by senior players in the team who feel like they’re taking the fall for being shite. They dropped a similar thing in the same paper before the Chelsea game on boxing day. One of their big swipes was about the role Thomas Partey plays… then he goes and drops a 9/10 MOTM performance.
Senior players at Arsenal need to understand this: No one gives a fuck what you think. No one. The star boys are all under 25.
Bigger picture, Arteta needs to stop propping these schemers. Willian has ‘great potential’, Pierre ‘late for NLD team meetings’ Auba is committed… he always goes to bat for his big names, and they rarely repay the faith.
Telling a journalist Arteta blames them feels so far from reality. He never throws players under the bus. He takes the blame so often, it’s almost problematic. The worst flaying he’s dished out was Pepe when he headbutted someone at Leeds. Dropping big names for shit performances all the fans watch with fury is not throwing players under the bus. It is a very, very weird bubble these guys live in.
That’s not to say there aren’t senior players who are putting in a shift this season. Granit Xhaka, love him or hate him, has been one of our most consistent performers. Alex Lacazette has developed a new role where is everything and nothing at the same time. Thomas Partey has been a mixed bag, but you never doubt his commitment on the pitch.
Fuck the leakers. Auba deserved to be dropped. Willian has deserved the same. The shame of it all is that these whiners can’t be moved on with much ease.
Arteta gets more out of the younger players he seems so risk-averse in playing. They also never mail it in. I do understand why there’s an aversion to playing too many of them, it’s not normal to play so many teenagers, but the counter-point can’t be to play uncommitted seniors who have us sitting in 9th at the moment.
There’s a big dilemma to be faced this Thursday. Does Arteta revert to his seniors knowing there’s one or a few leaking to the press? Does he revert to names that let him down at Christmas? That couldn’t do the job against Liverpool?
Or does he pick the team best suited to doing the job? The team. The team. The team. Imo.
Martinelli said he was fit for Thursday. Play him. Let him terrorise a Slavia’s shoddy defence.
Bukayo Saka was immense against Sheff U, rumours are that he just had a dead leg, let him roam as a #10 again.
Give Nico another go, he’s been crucial to two goals on the bounce, he looks hungry, warm up the clunky first touch and reward him.
We cannot afford to play badly on Thursday. I need my match against Unai Emery in the cauldron of hell. Our awful season could be made a little sweeter if we make the final downing him in his comfort blanket.
Arsenal needs to score goals. Willian’s ‘control’ wasn’t helpful in the first leg, nor will it be in the second. Auba is either a #9 or he’s on the bench. If Lacazette is playing give him players that can form part of that 3-1-6 formation we had going at the weekend.
What I loved about the Sheffield United game is Arteta created an innovative solution in a game we were missing big players. There were clever ideas all over the pitch. My issue is that he does that when his back is against the wall… but when he gets bad options back in the system, he falls back on them.
We need to be protaganists on Thursday. I want Arsenal to humiliate them and crush their confidence in the first 20 minutes. We have to be decisive and head there demanding more than a late goal… we need to score 3 again.
I say this every week, but we need to get a run going, it hasn’t happened all season, let’s make it happen now.
Right, short one today, listen to the podcast below and we’ll talk turkey in the comments below. x