Well howdy doody.
Don’t know why I opened like that, it just felt right.
You know what else feels right… for the agenda?
Mikel Arteta – Manager of the Month.
You can’t knock it. He started with three losses on the bounce, which wasn’t a great record, then he responded with 3 wins on the bounce. The first team to do that since WIMBLEDON. Arteta is also the first Arsenal manager to win the award in 6 years. How bloody crazy is that? Don Unai didn’t manage it during that magical run of unbeaten?
10 points from 12 was a good run regardless.
The big question we all have now is this: Can he follow up with another 10 points from 12?
The first game back after the break falls kindly for us because it’s on a Monday. That’ll at least give us time to have a training session.
Palace has been fairly decent this season. It’ll be the first time we’ve played Patrick Vieira in the dugout, so there will be a bit of emotion there. Will the away fans sing his name? Maybe after the game depending on the result.
I feel like a lot of Crystal Palace hinges on Zaha and how well you deal with him. Tomiyasu had a baptism of fire against Brighton, which wasn’t his best game. Zaha is a different challenge, but let’s be honest, he did a pretty epic job keeping Son under control. So expectations are pretty high he’ll do the same against the Ivorian menace.
There’s been a lot of focus on Aaron Ramsdale. He arrived at the club under a cloud of … what have we done? Now it’s clear. The most uncertain signing off the summer that made no sense to any of us seems to now look like it’s been the best signing.
We are all Ramsdalians. Or Ramstafarians. Or Ramsdolorians. Whichever subreddit you joined in his honour, the essence of it will be that it’s a fan club. A BIG move from Arsenal there.
The player himself is now pushing to become the England #1. That’ll be tough for him. Jordan Pickford seems to be the favourite these days. He’s obviously a pretty decent keeper, he can make outrageous saves, but I never feel 100% comfortable with him between the sticks. It’ll be interesting to see how Gareth picks his side, because if it’s based on form, well, you’d have to be putting Ramsdale there and giving him the #1 for as long as he’s at Arsenal.
The player spoke to the media and doubled down on the things that are going on at Arsenal.
“When I came in, I got told to be myself,”
“My character is to be loud, be a leader and show passion. I also knew that I might have to shake things up in a positive way and my own way. I think it is well documented that they were missing leaders but I don’t think we’ve all turned into leaders all of a sudden. The team that is playing at the moment is just full of confidence and working well together. We’re all leaders in our own way.”
“The bigger the pressure, the more I thrive,” and so he would appear to be in the right place at Arsenal – a club weighed down by the quest to restore former glories.
“You can sense it as soon as you walk through the doors that the club aren’t happy where they are,” Ramsdale says. “We want European football. It might have to be the Europa League and then the Champions League but we want to get back there. You understand the pressures that brings but it’s an enjoyable challenge.
Yep, I read it. You read it. We all read it.
The target this season is Europa League, pushing on for Champions League the season after. I suspect the coaches will be looking at top 4 as a stretch goal, but really, it’s going to be quite tough this season with so many good sides with a lot more experience.
For me, it really depends on how we do after the break. If we can take 10 points from the next 4 games, then we’re cooking. If we can’t, then it’ll be a struggle this season. The short-term objective is to stay in the pack so we’re within striking distance come January. If we’d done that last season, we’d have made the top 4. This season, we have to piece the two halves of the season together. Because our start was so bad, there’s little room for error in Phase 3 of the season. 10 points from 12 will likely have us actually in the top 4. Anything less makes the tough winter run a little tougher.
It does feel like the footballing objective is the same one we had last season: make the attack click.
We’re good at defending. It’s hard to create against us. We might have removed some of the dumb errors from the system. But the attack still isn’t there. Making it click will take a bit of time, but at least this season, we have the component parts to make it happen. We’ve seen the promised land against Spurs, now we need to make consistency the objective.
After the break, will we see Martin Odegaard partner with Thomas Partey more? Will we see the club experiment more with the attacking line-up? Eddie looks fit, robust, and he’s playing for a new deal with someone, will the club gamble minutes on him? Gabriel Martinelli needs to find his form, he played well behind closed doors, but where is he going to be the next time he’s given a chance? Then we need to hope something clicks for the other attackers. Saka needs to find his stride, Pepe needs to start delivering, and Auba needs to give us more Spurs than Brighton.
The frustration is the team we have now isn’t built for an Auba. It’s built for a DCL, who we’re tracking apparently. Someone mentioned that this Arteta system, as it is right now, looks more like Atletico than City. Not where I thought we’d be taking the football, but hard to argue that a peak Diego Costa in the striking position wouldn’t make us immeasurably better.
Can’t be out here looking towards what we do next summer. We need to make moves with what we have. There’s plenty of talent in the system to have a go this season. Let’s see what happens after the break.
England up later. Podcast getting recorded tomorrow. See you in the comments. x