Well kids, how are we doing on this fine day? I’m in Miami making deals happen. Well, ok, maybe not doing that. But that’s beside the point… the point being is that you are in the rain and I am not. So I am bragging about it.
Let’s move onto the latest in Arsenal opinion.
Gareth Southgate is back on the shit list after he passed on Ben White and Emile Smith Rowe. Aaron Ramsdale did get a call-up, but you know he won’t start.
Now, on the one hand, we can take solace in the fact that two of our star performers don’t have to travel. On the other, you have to respect that they’ve both been better than some of the dross in the England setup and it’s a bit unfair. Still, that is international football. Reputation quite often beats out the hard facts of performances. There are a few in the current squad that are dining out heavy on the past. I’ve no doubt there are starting places in the future of all three players. They are young enough not to need to worry.
KT is back training with the Arsenal squad. It doesn’t sound like he’s ready for action, but I suspect he’ll be well in contention after the international break. I wonder if they’re going to line-up another friendly for the players that stayed at home? I do think KT will go back into the starting 11, though you’d be hard pushed to give a justification outside him being a top, top player. Nuno has done an excellent job in his absence, I hope some of the things he’s been doing will inspire the Scot.
Don Unai has passed on the Newcastle job. I think that’s probably for the best. Let’s be honest, the Spaniard travels extremely badly, and I have my doubts he’d get the control he has at Villareal under a megalomaniac at Newcastle. Eddie Howe is the frontrunner. It’s not as sexy as some had hoped, but I think it’s a sharp move. Eddie suffers from the English name tax. If his name was Ediano Howistzer and he’d taken a small Spanish team up 4 leagues, he’d be a hipster wet dream. But he’s not. He looks like he could paint your garage door in another life, so he’s written off. I struggled with the same thing, Peter Wood is a boring name, so I went to America where I can create endless hours of joy by just saying words like ‘Tally-ho’ and ‘blimey guvnor’… always go where you can be an object of joy, life is so much easier.
We play Watford at the weekend. We’ve been good against them over the years, we smashed them in preseason, but this is the Premier League, and Arsenal are that box of those chocolates Forest Gump was banging on about. If we show up, play with focus and energy, we’ll come away with the desired result and phase 3 of the season will have been a rip-roaring success. If we draw or lose, it’s a setback, but hopefully Arteta and the players will have done enough not to set the ball in motion for the whiners to get on the front foot for the international break.
It is fun to have a better flavor of conversation right now. All the things people complained about are slowly but surely being addressed.
The biggest win of the last phase was the senior players for me. Auba, Lacazette, and Partey have all decided that they are going to give us fitness, form, and leadership. Art De Roché had a great piece in The Athletic where he mapped out the numbers, Auba is pressuring more than ever, so those lying eyes of yours might be telling the truth for once. Lacazette has found the zone, he looks connected to the squad, he looks at ease with the beautiful game, and he’s playing a stunning role no one else in this squad can play. That one touch movement in the false 10 position allows our build-up to go faster, his aggression sets the tone for the team, and he’s showing up in pivotal moments. Thomas Partey looks like a £50m player right now, that’s all we need to say there.
The young players haven’t ever let us down really. Saka and ESR have moved their games up a level, of that there can be no doubt. Smith Rowe is offering end product. Saka has been a little quieter on that front, but he’s still been good. Both of those players will grow in stature this season, they’ll become more reliable on off days, and the numbers will improve.
But how about the new signings? Talent ID was a big issue for the fans and rightly so. From what I understand, some of the cheaper signings with certain agents arrived at the club because that was all that was on offer from a certain operations guy that doesn’t work in the game these days. Since he exited the building, we’ve been laser-focused on getting the deals right. This Project should have started a year prior, we’d be so much better for it if we had, but there we are. What we have now is very exciting. We’ve aged down the squad, each of our 6 signings has offered something fresh to the side, the entire squad feels bigger in character for it.
We’re also offering performances now. Actual good football. Can we make the good football last longer? Yes. But that’s not the point, these players have been together 7 games, performances will get better, that’s a given. What we needed to see was that there is in fact a promised land and a clear identity. Well, we’ve seen it. We cannot unsee it now. We know the potential and we want to see more of it. There are going to be more rough moments. I’ve read and heard people doubling down on Brighton and Palace performances, like those 90s were moments of shame. Brighton should have beaten Liverpool. Palace beat Manchester City. Shake the idea from your mind that this is 2003 and there are whipping boy teams. It’s not the case. Every game has the potential to be tough. The league is so much stronger than it was even 6 years ago. We are going to suffer at times this season, as will every side. We’re 5 points off 2nd. Why? Because the league is tough this year.
The final part of the equation isn’t Arteta. It’s the fans. I don’t know what the pivotal moment was, but I do think the accusation that we were cheering City goals really stuck with a lot of people. It was not true and since then, it’s like the fans have gone out of their way to go all-in on the squad. The Emirates is loud. You can hear it through the TV. There’s very little groaning. The young players need that. Anyone can offer their energy when things are going well, but that’s not when they need it… they need it when there’s a disaster class brewing. Our fans are there for kids and it’s fucking beautiful to see/hear because our summer was radioactive online and there was a big fear that’d be in the ground.
The internet is not real my friends. I am glad about that.
We had our best week ever for podcast numbers. We broke the top 50 for UK sports podcasts again. The most interesting twist for the podcast is MORE people tune in for winning podcasts. That trend happens on the site as well. It wasn’t that way in the old days. Are we… the place for positivity? Did we move from the darkness to the light? Did someone just drop the keys to the hashtag #TeamPosiGooners through the letterbox? What turnaround. Anyway, thanks for listening (and watching), it means a lot. X