Listen, we can laugh, but that’d be unfair. Winning the FA Cup in your first half-season isn’t for every world-class manager. The truth is, we as a fanbase need to be sensitive to the feelings of Chelsea fans. Arsenal rocked Thomas Tuchel’s Chelsea with an earth-shattering performance, he’s just lost an FA Cup final to Leicester, and that might have ramifications as they chase top 4 and Champions League glory.
Imagine trying to motivate your team to save top 4 whilst they are thinking about a Champions League final as their confidence plummets?
I speak for us all when I say we wish no ill on Chelsea as their season sits on a precipice.
Side note, I haven’t seen too many talking about Tuchel galaxy braining Arsenal and the final? One of the most expensively assembled sides on the planet losing to Leicester in the Cup Final is a bad look.
Back to Arsenal.
Our season has some way to go. Unfortunately, we are still very much in the mixer for the unsexiest European competition ever dreamed up. No one wants to be in it. I don’t even know what it is. It’s a bit like taking a cyst to the doctor, don’t tell me what it is, just get me away from it so I can move on with my life.
Finish above Spurs? Would be nice. But would I want to do that and be rewarded with Thursday night football in a poverty European league? Don’t think I would. Would you?
Interesting to see the negative spin merchants out in force over David Luiz. Same people crying about our win over Chelsea are trying to convince the world David Luiz rebuffed a contract he was never offered. Can’t have it. There was a lot of pressure on Arteta and Edu to wave goodbye to him. I also suspect there will be a lot of pressure to give William Saliba a chance next season. (brushstroke 1)
Wesley Fofana is proving that if you give young centre backs game time, they can do great things. I think we’d all like to see Saliba in the mixer, even if it’s not great. There is no doubt in my mind that the decision to give Mustafi Europa minutes to him was a very bad one. Someone wrote in our GC we’re about to get the biggest transfer blue balls when he joins the first team and fails to live up to the Ligue 1 tease. I’m not sure I agree. I’ve watched Luiz and Mustafi make massive errors every 6 games for 2 years, if I had the choice, I’d prefer to be a young player with a VVD ceiling.
Joe Willock has made the most of his loan move to Newcastle. The box to box midfielder has proved to be an exceptional impact sub. His goal scoring has been outrageous considering how poor his output was under Emery and Arteta over 80 odd games. It’ll be really interesting to see what happens here, for me, sell him while he’s hot like we should have with AMN last season before we bombed him off to West Brom. Whatever we do, the decision should be made on scouting, not emotion from the fans.
Matteo G is a player that creeps back into conversation because all we see is the guy tearing around the pitch doing mega passion things. If he’s raised his profile at Hertha (not sure he has), we should be selling him. If you are a culture terrorist, you’re always going to be one. Hertha, a team that were in a relegation battle (finished 14th), had to drop him during a prime moment of their season because he behaves like an ‘animal.’ We don’t need that at Arsenal next season. No one likes working with a dickhead and it’s the same in sport.
Part of the mix this summer is making sure the players we hire in are scouted for who they are as people. It’s so odd that we haven’t been doing that. Would have been interesting to ask Petr Cech why Chelsea didn’t give Willian the deal he wanted before we doubled their offer and added a year. Was there no way we could have landed some intelligence on why Frank Lampard was so keen to move on David Luiz after he signed a new contract, despite having the same makeup of squad that would have loved his ‘mentorship.’ You can forgive the Matteo signing, teenagers can change. But the other two feel like we really lacked something on the scouting front.
I’m also interested in the leaks coming out of the club.
Entrenched power is a big theme.
The Athletic wrote extensively about Arteta having too much power with too little experience. Wenger-like privileges without the battle scars or scalps. That sort of noise is well-sourced. We’ve been writing about it since he was promoted last season. I hope there are moves afoot to give more balance in the backroom.
Edu also seems like he’s under pressure, his trust capital is eroding by the week. His physio mate he brought in from the Brazil setup might not make the summer (more brushstrokes). Vinai took the professional steps of hiring headhunters to replace binned scouts, clearly a control thing to avoid more jobs for the boys. We’re also reading pressure on the keeping coach, which I told you first, but important for Edu because he took his recco for Runarrsson, which was a very, very bad one.
Overall, the impression is that the tight leadership and aggressive standards we set have not been kept to. We know this to be true because we’ve seen it.
Ceding power to individuals above the collective good of the club is unacceptable governance. The club needs a vision with a guiding philosophy so strong, there’s limited impact on the project if key people leave. The best clubs know who they are, how they play, and what they stand for. Arsenal don’t. So every time we bin someone, we lose momentum trying to fix the damage.
If we’re possession-based football played with young players that are technically gifted and extremely athletic, then everything should be built around that vision. The coaches, the scouts, the academy staff, the analysts, the manager and the technical director. If something goes wrong with Arteta, we have someone like Graham Potter lined up. If something goes wrong with Edu, we should have a technical director lined up that has a background building teams that play the way Arsenal needs to. At the moment, we’re being driven by managers, who average 18 months in the role. That’s not smart business for a club that constantly bangs on about the unsustainability of the game. If you want to play the sustainable model, do sustainable things. Like Leicester City or RB Leipzig.
I’d love to think these micro-moves are part of a bigger Vinai plan. The start of him taking control of the club like a proper CEO. Who knows though. Our leadership team has shown consistently they never learn. Bin Ozil, sign Willian. Move on an authoritarian manager, give new manager authoritarian powers after 6 months.
Let’s see if the changes we’re seeing actually mean something.
See you on the other side.