SUNDAY ROUND-UP

by .

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?

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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199 Responses to “SUNDAY ROUND-UP”

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  1. Bob N16

    I hope the players don’t share my inferiority complex when we play Liverpool on Saturday. Like City, in recent years they’ve often essentially won the game in the first 30 mins. That shouldn’t be the case this weekend but I remain pessimistic, hoping to be wrong!

  2. Pierre

    Watching the England game, it was easy to see that saka and smith rowe have a very special on field relationship and enjoyed playing in the same area of the pitch in the first half, something that we haven’t seen them do this season for Arsenal..

    I’m hoping that they can resume their special relationship at Arsenal as I believe they could become as prolific together as Sanchez/Ozil ..

    Smith Rowe has been outstanding on the left for Arsenal, but that shouldn’t mean he can’t return to his favourite CAM position, which will also allow him to resume his relationship with Saka.

    This will leave an open position and i can see Sterling coming in to fill that position and also bringing in a striker, Alexander Isak looks a good fit..

    I can see Nketiah going (sadly) to palace , Pepe going, and it wouldn’t surprise me to see Martinelli leave unless he shows a lot more when he gets his chances in the league cup and in january when the AFCON begins

  3. Graham62

    Morning Bob

    I know, that’s the downside but something has to be done.

    Maybe if FIFA/ UEFA thought about things that didn’t involve lining their own pockets, they could come up with a solution.

    It can’t continue.

  4. Tony

    Bob for me it’s the manner in which we get results or lose. If we push them all the way and get beaten by a goal, then I’ll take it as a step forward from playing to contain the losing score margin.

    There’s something brewing in this squad who are enjoying their football again and not having to worry about brain fart players.

    I would not be surprised if we get a hard earned point and some smug satisfaction of be ever more confident.

    We’re pretty secure at the back and Ramesdale is top drawer at the moment. Get Eddie fired up on at 50 minutes or Balogun or Martinelli and put VVD on the back foot or playing catch up.

    Have courage, Bob, go into the game quietly or loudly confident as is your won’t.

  5. Kroenkephobe

    Hiya Bob

    Holistically, ie for the good of football across Europe, I think it needs to happen. These teams don’t even get results against traditionally minor euro teams. What the players of these teams think is only a small part of the equation. We’re probably talking about 10-12 teams in Europe. They might be making a bit of cash but that could be found elsewhere to help boost their coffers and their grass roots game. Its the very demographically small places that are the real problem because you can’t see improvement irrespective if what happens They would rebut those points of course by saying that they at least represent one nation. Ingerland, Wales, Scotland and the North of Ireland – although in some senses being the cradle of football – aren’t national teams strictly speaking. It has a clear political dimension, as does the inclusion of Asian countries such as Kazakhstan and for separate reasons Israel.

  6. Mulerise14

    Tony….. didn’t know you are that young.
    Nothing is ever the same….so why would one be rigid in one’s assessment of our situation as a club?.am a romantic,was on Tets train,then through the work of his galaxy brain, became disenchanted and said as much…. but now,there is not much we can complain about, the direction is clear,even if Tets fails…..a very good squad is being assembled under everybody’s nose and I think we going to explode soon either with Tets or any other gaffer…..I want Tets to succeed, he has all the resources to do so.we should revaluate where we are as a club at the end of the season. if it is pointing south, let’s quickly get ten Haag of Ajax…..this was Wenger biggest crime.(he lost us the opportunity of hiring either Guardiola or Kloop as we dilly-dong,dally-dong along.
    As fans we have the right to be happy when things are going well and also right to criticize when things are not to our liking….for we have invested so much emotion, resources to be a Gunner.

  7. Mulerise14

    Fortune favours the bold…… Liverpool can be gotten at.,.one thing I loved about our season so far is the speed of our counter especially on that left where our speedsters dwell….less of meaniless possession.so let’s get at them,if we loose by small margins,we will forgive them, but not another 5-0 scorline, that would be too much to bear

  8. Tony

    Mulerise 14
    Agree with most you say and worry as Ten Hag has been my choice for a long time with Paddy as a back up when he was in France.

    Looks like United want Zadine and I doubt Rogers is right for them. So maybe they go for Ten Hag.

    I don’t believe in agendas and go by results tables and the football we play. I worry that it takes Arteta to be forced into changes to play players most of us want on the pitch.

    By February we’ll have a very good idea of the future with Arteta but I’m happy with what’s unfolding.

    As long as Arteta doesn’t revert to Xhaka football or we’ll go backwards again.

    Pool have more to worry about than us and David’s are slaying Goliaths so who knows?

  9. Bob N16

    Agree Kroenke, 30 years ago some countries that were considered poor are now competitive, Gib, San Marino etc will never have a good team, they will never develop as they are not really countries – they have a population of 30,000 ffs! It’s completely ridiculous and pointless(excuse the pun);that they play games against real countries.

    Tony, I agree that our performance on Saturday is almost of greater importance than the result. Losing in a competitive way would be acceptable, obviously I’d rather we avoided defeat! Both sides will be experiencing the effect of their players having travelled and played all over. Hope VVD has a really hard match tonight- a game that is of real importance to the Dutch – Odegaard is up against him.

    Graham, as you point out, with FIFA it’s all about the money!

  10. Rich

    The away games to Liverpool + United won’t prove anything

    Last season was our first win in the League at Old Trafford in 14 years, they’re having problems, but they’re still only 3 points behind us, and their fixture list eases up after Chelsea + us

    Liverpool are currently better than us, they’re a mature team, that’s been together a while, one of the best in Europe

    We can get results at both those grounds, but it won’t be the end of the world if we don’t, the season is 38 games, we’ll get plenty of results elsewhere

    I said after our first 3 games that things would balance out, and we’d be in with a good chance of 5th, an outside chance of 4th, I got called embarrassing, that I’d lost the plot…..

    City, Liverpool, Chelsea, all play with a maturity that surpasses us, their teams gave been together longer than ours, we’d be relying on 1 of these teams collapsing to get ahead of any of them

    United have the firepower to hurt anybody, they’ll still win plenty of games this season

    Then we’ll likely be in the mix with Leicester, West Ham, Spurs, with Everton and maybe Wolves just behind

    We can edge that lot, and we now have a foundation in place to build around for the medium to longer term

    We’re 11 games in, nothing has been proved or disproved yet, we’re just roughly where most sensible people would expect us to be

    Whether we finish 5th-6th, fall into 7th or 8th, or just edge into 4th, won’t be decided for a long time yet, it’ll likely be tight and go to the wire

    We should target 15 points from our next 8 league games, 35 points at the halfway line would set us up nicely

  11. Pierre

    Arteta deserves credit for starting Ben White, Tomiyasu and Ramsdale, if those decisions had backfired on him he would have been out of a job.

    Where our season really took off was the introduction of Tavares, Lakonga and Lacazette due to injuries to Xhaka , Tierney and Odegaard.

    Let’s be honest , without those injuries we would still be watching Xhaka lumber about in midfield , Tierney struggle to get up and down the line and Odegaard run around a lot without making a tackle and avoiding physical confrontation.

    It could be said that Lacazette was the spark that ignited the team, as his substitute appearance v Palace gave the stadium energy and the equalising goal in the last minute maintained the confidence in rhe team

    Tavares for me is the surprise package, he always looked very positive going forward but recently he has impressed me with his defensive capabilities.
    His speed and strength makes it very difficult for the opposition to get past, pretty good in the air as well, i will be amazed to see Tierney back in the starting line at left back any time soon.

    Lakonga is just a very good footballer , he and AMN should be fighting for the other midfield spot alongside Partey.
    Xhaka’s injury couldn’t have come at a better time for Arteta as it has highlighted how little he actually contributes to the team and how little we miss him..

  12. Tony

    Hey K’phobe kind of be paradoxical in my eyes.

    After the NLD I was up and buzzing and wrote a positive post and said to Pedro to enjoy posting which he took to being me having a dig at any impending told you so’s where all I was saying was enjoy the moment in writing how that could be a turning moment.

    In many ways it was but now we can test this new resolve against the best.

    Mane will be a big loss but Firmino is a handful.

    This game will tell us many things and just how good Tomi and Ben White are?

    Like you I’m expecting us to get something from the encounter.

    Finally became an old age pensioner last week much to the piss take from my daughter sending me the latest Zimmer frame online catalogue.

    Life’s good and I’m loving retirement and just need Covid to decease and desist so I can travel again.

    Hope all good with you and your tribe🙏

  13. Tony

    ‘Hope VVD has a really hard match tonight- a game that is of real importance to the Dutch – Odegaard is up against him.‘

    Thanks for the heads up about that, Bob, I’ll see if I can record the game or see highlights tomorrow.

    Pepe scared VVD running at him before it’s the way to play front foot and 1 & 2 touch football.

    Ode and Haarland facing VVD should be fun and a tough battle.

  14. Graham62

    Can someone explain to me how can so many England supporters get. a Tuesday off and waltz off to San Marino for a couple of days.
    No disrespect but how do they do it?
    Are they all self-employed, unemployed or have incredibly nice bosses?

  15. englandsbest

    Thank heavens! Now that qualifiers are known. serious questions are being asked about Qatar WC. There is a very real chance WC will be shifted to the summer in Europe or Latin America.Leaving aside football matters such as the turmoil of a six-week mid-season break, there are much wider issues. The corrupt bidding for a start.

    But most important of all, Qatar is a place where homosexuality is a crime, where foreign workers are treated like slaves, where women have zero rights,. Where bending the knee is an unpractised gesture over there.

    Time for world football to show where it stands, time for footballers and fans to make their voices heard.

  16. Mulerise14

    Yes Tony…in a way Tets is a lucky b*stars….he fell upstairs a coupla times like that…the lesson of Xhaka’s absence I hope won’t be lost on him….we need two mobile CMs..if we can get Tyler Adams or Frank Kessie,our CM is set for at least a decade.we have to see what he would do as time unfolds….if ain’t broke, don’t fix should be the mantra going forward. As much as I like Tierney,I would’nt rest Tavares for him. I would not force Ødegaard into the formation…..our best eleven for now may even surprise us, don’t let us weaken ourselves b4 going to the battle.

  17. NORG

    EB

    Time for teams to stand up and say we are not going. I mean Players as the FA is still in the dark ages. The players make the tournament happen – without them it would be a damp squib.

  18. Pierre

    Rich
    “Whether we finish 5th-6th, fall into 7th or 8th, or just edge into 4th, won’t be decided for a long time yet, it’ll likely be tight and go to the wire”

    This shows a lack of confidence in the management and players..
    We are 2 points behind liverpool
    3 points behind city
    6 points behind chelsea .

    Who’s to say that this present side can’t maintain this run of form, the players are only jist starting to gel and as yet, we haven’t totally clicked in the final third, though there are signs that we are getting there .

    If one goes back to 1997/98 double winning season for Arsenal , at Christmas we were sitting in 6th , 12 points behind united , 7 points behind Blackburn, 5 points behind chelsea, 3 points behind liverpool and 2 points behind leeds, and yet we won the league with 2 games to spare..

    Some bookies actually paid out on United winning the league .

    All the teams above us atm are in Europe , chelsea , liverpool and west ham are still in the league cup so there will be a massive fixture pile up for these clubs, which ultimately will result in injuries and fatigue.

    What i will say is let’s wait until after our next 4 league fixtures before wrting us off.
    Liverpool are having a little blip .
    Newcastle home, they are there for the taking.
    United and Everton away should hold no fears for this present team , in fact i would imagine that united and Everton have more to worry about facing Arsenal.

    Those 4 games couldn’t come at a better time for Arsenal, none of those teams are close to hitting form.

    Chelsea are not as good as some think , let’s wait and see how they react when their luck turns and they start dropping points..

    Could we do what leicester did a few years back , i wouldn’t write us off just yet .
    I certainly wouldn’t be talking about finishing 7th or 8th this season, the team has already shown that a much higher finish is attainable.

  19. Positive pete

    No.I am Spartacus ( oops,pedro)🤫
    @ mulerise14.Good shout with the CM choices.I believe u could add Renato Sanchez to that list.& Bissouma.Surely one in jan would be attainable?As Tony says it depends on what the mindset is going into the match at Liverpool.Naturally,I would prefer positive.
    I

  20. andy1886

    Graham/China, I’d imagine that like me plenty of people in the UK didn’t take much leave over the last couple of years for obvious reasons – not much point if you’re stuck at home anyway! So there will be plenty of people who had holiday carried over to this year and have plenty to use up on things like an England away game (I used two days for the recent Monday/Friday home games against Palace and Villa).

  21. China1

    For 7 years here I only had 8 days of annual leave per year and it really sucked. Next year it will hopefully jump to 20 which will be way nicer

  22. andy1886

    With Laca leaving I’d bet that a striker will be very much first on the list. I expect Tets to make do with Xhaka even though he ruins the midfield with his snail like movement and tackling ability of a drunk on the dancefloor.

  23. Jamie

    “where foreign workers are treated like slaves, where women have zero rights,. Where bending the knee is an unpractised gesture over there.”

    EB’s knowledge of the Middle East comes from the Daily Mail. 75% of the population in Qatar is expat, but EB says foreign workers are treated like slaves.

    And the World Cup is happening there. Get used to it.

  24. Northbanker

    EB – couldn’t agree more. Despite the fact that the bribery has been more or less proved, we are still allowing Qatar to host. What manner of decision making is that? It shows that FIFA is the Hydra that keeps replicating its corrupt self no matter how many of its bureaucrats are toppled.

    When the Qataris sue, lets allow the details to be properly aired in court. Maybe this time we might get a legal decision that is based on law unlike the fair play debacle.

  25. Havyn

    You mentioned Don Raul but you forgot to mention the role Kia and Edu played in bringing players like Luiz, Willian, Cedric and Mari all Kia players.

    Edu was working hard in the summer to buy Neto, Barcelona GK, Emerson Royal and Coutinho all Kia players.

    Don’t also forget that in the summer Edu was holiday with Kia and Don Raul.
    Edu was brought in by Don Raul. If Raul is shady, Edu is shady. Edu has to be watched 24/7

  26. Graham62

    Jamie

    Unfortunately, we do have to get used to it.
    We also have to get used to the fact that we have two bodies running football who are as corrupt as each other.

  27. Words on a blog

    If you are a Western or Far Eastern foreign worker with qualifications in Qatar, then you’re gonna be fine. You’d also be ok if you were from India, Pakistan, Bangladesh etc and you had qualifications.

    If you’re a manual labourer from the Indian subcontinent working in Qatar, then your rights are pretty much non-existent, your working conditions are terrible and your pay is derisory.

    But then again your pay, working conditions and rights back in your home country are even worse.

  28. Graham62

    Harping back to FIFA and UEFA, why is it that some teams/countries get the benefit of the doubt when it comes to not showing respect for the Racism campaign?

    Why are teams and countries not banned from competitions?

    Before anyone responds, I also think our so called fans should be banned for life for booing national anthems etc. and left to rot in foreign prisons for not respecting another countries culture.

    Any English fan who gets up on a table, singing “Rule Britannia”, whilst holding a beer in their hand, should be severely punished.

  29. NORG

    Havyn

    When Raul was getting his greasy fingers well and truly stuck into AFC Edu was working for Josh and was involved with buying some of the next generation players (Gabriel was one of these players). At the time Arteta was reporting to Raul and in his first managerial position it was partly a case of yes sir, no sir. Arteta said yes to the players coming on board as is widely reported.

  30. englandsbest

    The Qatari leaders won’t sue. It would open a can of worms that will eat them alive.

    With luck, top players refusing to take part because of Human Rights issues, will signal the end of the Qatar WC.

  31. Graham62

    Systemic racism rearing it’s ugly head in cricket.
    Top players being named and shamed.
    Massive respect to Rafiq.
    Vaughan, Root, Harmison, Ballance a part of this institutional racism.
    If you sit and say nothing and accept, you’re a part of the problem.
    Simple.

  32. Terraloon

    Pierre

    Fixture congestion and indeed the size and quality of squads will of course be a major contributor going forward but from a point in time which is very fast approaching the sort of impact you talk about will without doubt be as challenging for Arsenal as indeed it will be for other top 6 candidates

    In less than 6 weeks Arsenal will be waving a goodbye to four players who will be on their way to AFCON. They will depart following another 9 or10 games ( league and cup).

    Other clubs of course will be likewise have African Internationals in their squads but other than Leicester and Palace who also have four the majority of PL clubs won’t be impacted in the same way
    Utd have 3, Liverpool 3, Chelsea 2 , WHU just 1
    Some talk about possibly selling Lacazette and Nketiah in January which I somehow doubt will happen but knowing the money men it could just possibly happen but the Arsenal squad minus Partey, Pepe, and PEA for potentially 6 weeks have a significant impact on those that are left behind.

  33. Jamie

    “Not just me or Daily Mail, those issue are in UN report.”

    Some labourers are treated shockingly. Not even close to all foreign workers are treated as slaves, though.

    You should probably read the UN report. I have a house in Dubai and travel to Doha regularly. Your perception of the Middle East is wrong.

    That’s not to say the awarding of the WC to Qatar wasn’t totally corrupt and shouldn’t have happened, but it has. Move on.

  34. Pierre

    Terraloon
    “Fixture congestion and indeed the size and quality of squads will of course be a major contributor going forward but from a point in time which is very fast approaching the sort of impact you talk about will without doubt be as challenging for Arsenal as indeed it will be for other top 6 candidates”

    Not really , come February when the european knockout stages begin , that is the time when we will benefit so if we can hang in there for the next 2 months , and i see no reason why we can’t, then we will be playing one game a week whilst our rivals will be playing potentially 2 games a week for the remainder of the season..

    The Arsenal squad is perfectly deep enough to cope with the loss of Pepe , Aubamayang, partey and elneny , in fact the loss of Aubamayang and Pepe may actually benefit us as it will give some of our talented youngsters the chance to stake a claim for a place in the starting 11..

    We have Odegaard, Martinelli, Nketiah , AMN and Balogun all .fit and ready to contribute, plus xhaka may be fit to return.