I had a worry that the summer was going to be quiet on the fan chat front, boy was I wrong. Good mannered debate all over the place yesterday regarding a number of issues.
Let’s talk ownership first.
Patrick Vieira is in the media again talking about the wonders of the Daniel Ek Arsenal vision. Quite something that Paddy would kill his chances of a job at Arsenal to back a bid that has limited chances of success. More to the point, the wind in the Spotify sales appears to have died a death.
Daniel Ek has spoken to supporter groups. He’s spoken to explayers. He’s even spoken to the news. Yet here we are, 3 weeks later, and no one has a clue what the vision is and no one has a clue what his plan is to move the mood over at KSE to SELL SELL SELL.
We’d all love a Daniel Ek on a white horse horse charging into Highbury House with a bundle of cash, but it’s hard to get excited about the technology start-up equivalent of a rich guy shouting, ‘WE’RE GOING TO CHANGE MUSIC FOREVER’, without offering any clue as to how.
The Government are looking into the murky world of football business and how it impacts fans.
The Chair and panel will canvass fans’ views on ownership, governance and financial flows within the game. It will add to the recommendations of the English Football League’s Governance Review and the Government’s 2016 Expert Working Group on Football Supporter Ownership and Engagement.
In addition, they will assess if there is a need for an independent football regulator, charged with implementing regulation and compliance, and how that could work within the existing framework provided by the Football Association, Premier League and English Football League.
Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden said:
This expert panel brings together a wealth of knowledge and experience from across the football family to shape the future of our national game.
Their job will be to listen to fans and ensure their views are at the heart of reforms on governance, finance and improving day to day experience of supporters. Football is nothing without fans, and today we deliver on our promise to put them in the driving seat.
Tracey Crouch has been talking to groups and fans around the country to understand the concerns and worries. I think AISA met and the AST sent 4 people to chat with her. This is a good step, but it needs something tangible out the back end of it.
I was asked yesterday what I thought would be a good outcome? Honestly, I have no idea. But if the UK Gov can intervene in the microchip industry to protect UK IP, is there a world where the Gov could intervene to protect our culture? If American’s came to the UK and tried to move the Tower of London to Vermont, there’d be an intervention, is there a world where rules on what you can and cannot do with a football club are put in place? Lofty, but look, I said I didn’t know what I thought.
I think fan representation is the key issue here. Fans pushing for 10% of each club going to supporters trusts is the angle. I also think they’re looking at some sort of independent body to regulate the league as well.
I spoke on the podcast about fan repping. The challenge with nominating fans is that unless there’s a war (Super League), no one can agree. I honestly cannot stand the people that shout ‘THE AST DOESN’T SPEAK FOR ME.’ Like, honestly, if you do literally nothing but sit behind a Twitter account, then don’t expect to be spoken for. AISA, AST, Black Scarf, and plenty of other extremely active people have every right to be speaking for most of us. They are the best we have, if you want to change that reality, do something yourself, don’t just cry on the sidelines like people need to go out of their way to accommodate your laziness.
If it ever happened and there was a fan repping, it’d have to be incredibly democratic, which I’m sure it would be. They manage it well in Germany. Expanding supporter groups and giving them teeth would be great news for everyone, and I do not know a single person at the AST that would be against that. Let’s see where this goes.
Next up, the hot topic, WILLY SALIBA. I’m going to lean on Gambon from the comments to help us with this conundrum, because he had some pretty decent points about this whole debate.
The situation is this: Arsenal will add quality to the defence this summer. The system is better than the individuals. We made too many errors last season and the lack of quality on the ball stifles our ability to move through the lines at speed. We’ve had no right back all season, and the inversion is imperative to how we play, and our best centre back for how we want to play is/was David Luiz, even with the errors.
This is the comment (Gambon)
Honestly, the amount of AFC fans saying “we dont need a CB” is ridiculous, and makes me wonder if they have ever watched a game of football.
We have just lost our best CB.
We now have 4 CBs with Saliba returning, and not a single one of them has ever played an international game. Not a single cap.
Yet people think we will be fine with Gabriel, Mari, Saliba & Holding just because we have 4 warm bodies available to play.
All the big clubs play a high line, with effectively a back 2 when in possession.
Arsenal have been playing a back 3 in possession (Chambers or Xhaka dropping in).
This is because our defenders are so limited, so poor 1 vs 1, and so slow, that they cant be trusted in a 2.
Until this changes, this team is stuck.
By having 2 proper athletes at the back, we can push the extra man into midfield (2-3-5), which means suddenly we wont be getting out competed constantly in central MF, we will be able to get the ball to the play makers more often, and the attack will improve.
Assuming Arteta wants to do what Pep is doing at City, it is absolutely 100% vital that we sign a fast, high quality CB, and a RB that can invert.
The team cant move forward without this, simple as that.
I would have Gabriel, New CB, Saliba and Holding next season. I think long term it may be Saliba and New CB. I like Gabriel, but Im not sure he will be top top class.
The new CB has to be better than anything we have.
It’s quite incredible to me that the folk that are the most critical of Arteta’s decisions are the same people banging the drum for replacing David Luiz with teenage William Saliba this summer.
This is when you need absolute discipline in an operation. If you know the way you want to play and you marry that against the problems you have, you have a higher chance of getting to the right answers.
- Our build up play is slow and imperfect because we don’t have confident ball players
- We make too many errors, generally because we’re not that great on the ball
When you know the two above issues, is your solve a teenage defender that’s been playing solidly well at mid-table Nice?
Absolutely not. That idea is a bad one on any level, let alone when you marry it to your reality. We’re already making too many errors. We took one of the best performers in Ligue 1 last season and he’s been very, very inconsistent. No team in the league is rocking teenage centre backs on the regular bar Leicester City with Fofana.
So let’s talk about Fofana. A brilliant 19 year old talent from St Etienne. What happened to Leicester this season? They finished 5th. 6 points behind Arsenal. They conceded 50 goals. 11 more than Arsenal in their worst ever season. The ambition here isn’t 5th, it’s 4th and higher. Which top clubs in Europe are rocking 19 year olds at the heart of their defence?
The job of Arteta is absolutely clear next season, he needs to make the Champions League spots. If he doesn’t, his career is in the gutter. He’s not here to satisfy our itch to see 11 teenagers on the pitch. The fans – and I one hundred percent include myself in this – get the kids wrong all. the. time. Just look at our shitty record over the past 18 months. We BEGGED to see 80-Arsenal-appearances Joe Willock open our attack and it was a disaster. We thought Reiss Nelson was the next coming of christ (another that had a good scoring patch on loan), he bombed. We INSISTED AMN was good enough for our centre midfield, he went to WBA and Sam Allardyce told the media the player should just do as he’s told and play right back. We thought Eddie was the real deal. We genuinely think every problem we have can be solved by the kids. Mostly, it can’t unless they are elite (Saka, Martinelli, ESR).
We’re not the only fanbase that does this. Thomas Tuchel arrived at Chelsea and double subbed CHO in week one. That’s a player Bayern were interested in that they caved and gave mega money to. Tammy Abrahams is not getting games, despite having a good run last season. Billy Gilmour, who looked absolutely mint last season, has managed 5 appearances this campaign. Why? Because Chelsea managers lose their jobs if they don’t make the top 4.
William Saliba is not our best centre back. He has an extremely high ceiling, no doubt, but he’s a kid. He should come back into the squad next season, be given the opportunity to fight for his place, but there is no world where the sensible option is to give him a starting berth.
‘WE HAVE TOO MANY CENTRE BACKS’
This is also a familiar retort to the idea of bringing in someone new. Yes, we have too many centre backs, but that isn’t a permanent construct. Contracted centre backs is protection for the club, if there’s a chance to upgrade, why wouldn’t you do it? Especially when our system lives or dies next season based on athletic, ball playing centre backs in the squad.
In Arteta’s second season at City, Pep took city from 78 points to 100 buying mostly defenders. They went from conceding 39 goals to 27. They went from 80 goals to 106. Everything gets better in our side if we have better defenders that can do the things required of the system. Replacing what David Luiz brought to our attacking play is essential, Saliba has that in him, but not from the get-go next season, so let’s add more quality if we can.
Sure, we need a Buendia, Odegaard, or a Aouar to really kick things up a notch. French football is in the absolute gutter at the moment, the fact that Lyon’s #8 can be picked up for half the price we were willing to pay this summer tells you what a state it is over there, and what an opportunity there is to find gems. BUT, we also need to upgrade at the back, because if the back 4 can all do the things they need to be doing, then our attackers get the ball in more promising positions, our attacking transitions are faster and more furious, and there are less unforced errors because players are more comfortable on the ball and our midfield always receives the ball in better areas.
RIGHT, that’s all I have today, see you in the comments.