There are two kinds of people in the world, those that book early morning flights home, and those that try and max out every minute of a holiday by leaving really late.
I am an early guy. The idea of hovering around with suitcases in a hot country scratching at things to do around an airport does not fill me with joy.
Most people that stay with me are late leavers. That last day is always the killer. I hate my friends and family more than ever in those 4 hours before they leave. There’s always a red wine accident, or one of their children hit a wall with a Cheetoh hand swipe. Which is why I exit early. Ghost out of there. People will be grateful for your foresight.
Today, I am late guy. My flight out is 6pm. I don’t know how to act. This is average dead time. I can’t really get drunk. I can’t really do anything meaningful. So I’m in holiday purgatory.
I was going to sit it out at an airport, but instead, I decided to be Late-Guy brave and go to a bar called Suzie Wong’s Hideaway. I’m drinking beer with the locals pretending to know what the Greenbay Packers are. I hate this.
So what about Arsenal?
Only one more week to go before we say goodbye to the incessant rattle of international football.
It hasn’t been a bad one for us. Smith Rowe is going to come back from the break bouncing off the walls because he made a dream come true. Saka and Ramsdale won’t have played too many minutes. Ben White looks like he’s away with his GF. Thomas Partey is tweeting on his national team from the safety of London. We are doing ok so far.
I watched some of the content around the club that I’d missed. The most interesting piece was the Josh K interview with Sky Sports.
He did… well.
I am a power-house complainer when things are going wrong at Arsenal. You know this. But right now, there’s not a lot to complain about. All the things we’ve wanted from the club over the past decade finally seem to be coming our way.
Josh laid it out quite clearly:
Young coach. Young players. Sprinkled with magic when needed. The idea grows and when it matures… we bang.
That’s a good model for success. What I like about his realisation is that it’s basically the KSE Global strategy. Whatever they did at The Rams sparked something in the entire group. The Rams, from what I understand, are now a contender club. They signed exciting young players and coaches, let them go for it, now they are a fun serious team. The Nuggets are decent, I watch them, but have no idea how they are doing it.
Arsenal have a good plan, the implementation at stage one looks solid, now we have to wait to see where it goes.
KSE are moving away from platitudes to delivery. Having a fancy plan means nothing if you don’t invest in it. Who spent the most money this past summer? Arsenal. That’s investing in an idea. It could still go to shit, but from where I’m looking… it feels like we’re on a good path, and regardless of where Arteta’s career goes, he’s left us with an extremely exciting crop of well-coached youngsters.
What more can you ask for from a club that will never be Chelsea or Manchester City?
There are still things to be worked on at Arsenal. I don’t think this summer changed the leadership issues we still clearly have at Arsenal. I don’t think we’re at perfection with the backroom team. There are still a lot of questions to be asked of a club that let Don Raul do what he did and there are still big questions to be asked of a leadership team that went down the player acquisition path we did. Where was the leadership to stop deals like Cedric, Mari, and David Luiz round 2? It was nowhere and there weren’t consequences for any of that.
… but that’s for another day.
Let’s focus on the good that’s going on. Arsenal is finally operating under a coherent strategy that makes sense for who we are. It’ll be hard work, but we’ve finally accepted our place in the world, and we’re working out a battle plan to make our resources work for us. Some people might complain that the plan is too long-term and that we’ve lowered standards, I’d disagree, I’d say we’ve ramped up the standards and ambition. We’re hiring in premium youth talent from around the world, we have the youngest team in the Premier League, we are getting better and better every game. We’ve also shipped out those that can’t hit the standard.
… and remember, we can get back to the top. Only the weak fear money. For every Chelsea, there’s a Lille. For every Manchester club throwing money at the game, there’s a Liverpool doing things properly.
Some comp juice of Odegaard playing well?
Martin Ødegaard vs Latvia (13/11/21) (H)pic.twitter.com/M1BnuWACSN
— . (@N5COMPS) November 14, 2021
There’s a story doing the rounds that Arsenal will listen to offers for Pepe for £25m. The Don Raul tax. Quite a striking markdown for a player so young that seems to put in the work. But reality is, you can’t keep blaming everyone else for him not being where he needs to be. Question now is who is going to pick him up? I suspect he’ll need to go back to France, but who is shelling out for him? What sort of system does he fit? Will anyone pick up his salary, which I was told is £150k a week? Gonna be a tough sell. The only thing we have going for us is the player wants to play, so I doubt he’d sit around and do nothing like some of our others.
KDB said this to L’Quipe about how City scout players.
“Man City looks for the best players, but also learns about personal life, the way you behave. They know how to create a group. It’s a little different from what is done at PSG.”
I know this isn’t new. Alex Ferguson was notorious for being up in players shit. However, you do feel that the big difference between this batch of transfers and those that went prior is the character bit. Everyone is a hard worker, there are no slackers, and they all seem super focused on personal betterment.
Finally, get well soon to Kolasinac. He was brutally tackled and his ankle took the full force of it. I’d be surprised if we see him again in the next 6 months, the injury looked very, very bad.
Right, I think that’s all I have. I cannot believe I’m a late traveller guy. I’m so sorry if I let anyone down. x
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