Oh my word, Mikel Arteta spoke highly of a youngster. This on Joe ‘I like to score goals’ Willock.
“I am really happy that things have gone so well because of the potential that he has. I think it was great for him to go away and have a different experience.
“He has grabbed that opportunity in a really positive and remarkable way and he will come back to us, we will have a conversation with him and plan the next years for him.
“And he got the responsibility and the test of going to Newcastle to help them get where they want to. I spoke with the coaching staff there and they are extremely happy because he was a key part of contributing to get the objectives that they had. That’s a real positive for him.”
Getting the Willian treatment out here!
The praise for Joe is nice to read. His goal record has been exceptional, watching him open up a sprint is something else (and reminds us all of Freddie), and it’s no easy feat scoring goals off crumbs in that Newcastle side. Additionally, the fact that the coaching staff has told Arsenal his attitude and leadership has been immense adds to the validation.
From what I understand, focus was a big issue for him and a few others in the Hale-End collective. Maybe a little too big for their boots, thinking they’re all Jadon Sancho before cashing the reciepts. Sometimes a humbling at another club is what’s needed to convince that you’ve got it pretty good at Arsenal.
Sam Allardyce had solid advice for Maitland-Niles.
“If I were him, I’d play wherever the manager picked me – and I’d never turn it down because if you are able to play in a number of positions, then you are going to get more games than if you had one position and one position only.
“Perhaps you don’t want to be tagged as a ‘utility player’ but sometimes those people are played more often than those who are stubborn and say: ‘I want to play in that position and nowhere else.’”
You have to earn your right to play at Arsenal. There shouldn’t be the expectation that we’ll give a season of concentration lapses to kids trying to make it. Fussing over your role at a big club is a bit odd.
I’m not sure what the future holds for either of them, but a loan spell down the table will certainly have focused the minds of both.
The key takeaway from the preBrighton press conference were:
- Our position in the league table is unacceptable
- There was a lot of bad shit going on between Sept / Jan that impacted that run of games
- Those problems have left the club and we’ve generally been better for it
The obvious problems were the players we didn’t eject in the summer. We know Ozil was a nuisance, we saw what Kola and Mustafi did at Schalke (Mustafi binned today), we know Sokratis was a big personality and probably not the best to be around after being ditched.
My one worry is that William Saliba might have been in that mixer. The whining in the press when he landed the move was very aggressive, something you didn’t see from any of the other loanees with arguably a much stronger case for first team selection from than him. We’ll see though. Saliba is a ball playing right sided centre back, his numbers have been pretty decent, hopefully he’ll make up one of the slots that can compete for the first team next season. Still think we’re going to need an experienced name there. Gabriel, who is older, struggled this season, to expect Saliba who has clear weaknesses to come in and pick up the David Luiz slack might be a touch naive.
We’ve been heavily linked with Buendia. This is the Premier League strategy I suspected we were chasing down. The Argentine is apparently hot on the list. I can see why, he has the same energy levels as ESR, but with more end product because he’s older. He’s done it in the Premier League, he did it after going down (shows great focus), my only issue is that £40m is a lot of money for a player that is untested at the highest level. We’re leveling out a lot of money in the most expensive market in the world when there are likely similar deals to be had for elite players in broke leagues.
Still, the other side of the coin is that we really can’t afford a slow start next season. Buendia knows the pace. He knows the requirements. He’ll have a chip on his shoulder to prove he is one of the best. Liverpool built the core of their side on players that had done it in the Premier League, it makes sense that if we’re going with teenagers, we need to have some people that are going to come in right away and offer NOW product. I’d still like to see us loan in someone like Odegaard if that were to happen. We’re not one creative player from beating the fine margins game.
The mission this summer. Improve edge in final third by 20%. Reduce mistakes the other end by 50%. Everything needs to be threaded through that lense. Buendia would certainly help in the final third.
Ok, that is me done, I’ll see you in the comments.